It’s hard to say how many folks have given up going to church because of their hearing loss. But even one person who sits at home on a Sunday morning when they’d rather be in fellowship with their neighbors is one person too many.
Many church buildings suffer from the same poor acoustics that other large venues with high ceilings do. Microphones help with comprehension, when they’re used consistently and correctly. But lots can happen to distort words–even words of inspiration and worship–on their way from the microphone through the PA and to our ears. This is more true for people with hearing aids or cochlear implants, for whom echoes and reverberation are amplified.
Loops have been called a godsend, and perhaps this is literally true in churches. Wisconsin in particular has several looped churches, and New Mexico is increasingly connecting parishioners to services via loop as well.
In West Seattle, you could visit Fauntleroy Church to hear through a loop. Head up the hill to Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood for the loop at Bethany Presbyterian Church. Also in Seattle is the University Congregational United Church of Christ, who installed a hearing loop in 2015.
Head east to use Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church’s or St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church’s loops in Bellevue. Further east yet is Covenant Presbyterian Church‘s loop in Issaquah and Redmond’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross. Bremerton has two looped churches, Holy Trinity Catholic and Peace Lutheran.
Meanwhile, south Puget Sound folks can attend looped services at Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church in Des Moines or First Christian Church in Kent. Outside the Puget Sound area, visit Grace United Methodist Church in Walla Walla, Unitarian Universalist Church in Spokane, or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sequim.
What better way to welcome people with hearing loss into the fold? We honor these churches for creating inclusive, welcoming spaces for everyone.