For our first “Be in The Local Loop” feature, we are highlighting a hearing loop that has been installed at the reception counter for Social and Healthcare Services in Tumwater, Washington.
Visitors who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants (CI) will now be able to use the hearing loop in conjunction with their hearing instrument. The visitor must turn on the telecoil program by pushing a button on their hearing aid or CI. Almost all cochlear implants and 68% of all hearing aids have a telecoil program.
Where is it?
The hearing loop is located at:
DSHS Tumwater Community Services Division, 6860 Capital Blvd., Tumwater, WA 98501
Why is this important?
Critical information must often be exchanged at the intake counter where background noise can disrupt effective communication. The counter loop operates within a 3-foot range, allowing for privacy between the client and the social services worker.
Many who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants are unaware of the dramatic difference a telecoil and hearing loop can make in their ability to hear. Many do not know if their hearing instrument has a telecoil or if it has been activated by their hearing health professional. Those who do not yet have hearing aids or who don’t have a telecoil, can use the loop by wearing a loop receiver and a headset.
How can I tell it’s looped?
The counter loop can be easily recognized by the large blue T and ear symbol. This signage indicates hearing aid compatible hearing assistance is available. It is our hope, counter loops will be in use at every pharmacy and bank counter, ER and airport kiosk as well as social service counters. ODHH would like to expand the use of assistive technology throughout DSHS offices statewide. ODHH needs users to provide feedback by filling out a brief survey and mailing it back to ODHH. The survey will be available at the Community Support Office
Please share this information with those you know who may have hearing loss. If you know a hard of hearing person who lives in the area, who may be able to utilize this accommodation to apply for benefits, please spread the word. Tell people to try the hearing loop; education is key.