The Bowmanville Older Adult Association (BOAA) is a non-profit organization that offers social, active and educational programs to older adults in the Municipality of Clarington. In 2021, the BOAA received a grant to install assistive technology to support their values and beliefs to offer an accessible environment for members.
The Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) Group installed a low-spill phased array loop infrastructure cable in the ceiling of their large auditorium, which was connected to their sound system – ensuring that various audio connections throughout the auditorium would allow them to plug in various microphones along with their portable PA system.
Prior to the hearing loop install, some association members had difficulty participating in activities such as Bingo, since it was a challenge to hear in the large room with a number of participants. Now, hearing loop receivers with headsets make it possible for those without telecoils to easily hear the numbers being called. As activities from the large auditorium were moved to smaller activity rooms, members who had experienced the hearing loop in the auditorium requested that the same be done in the activity room to improve communication challenges. HAT returned to install a low-spill phased array in the activity room, ensuring that the signal did not spill into the auditorium (and vice versa) if both rooms were in use simultaneously.
HAT Group’s commitment to training staff and educating the community on the availability and use of these systems has been key. A recent loop education session provided a live example of why loops were important to the BOAA spaces. A member was struggling to hear the presentation, which was being broadcast using a microphone. The presenter was asked to slow down and move the microphone away from her mouth as this member was struggling to hear what was being said. She stopped the presenter at least 4 times due to the difficulty she was experiencing. Once this member was given a loop listener with earphones to try, she was able to easily hear and understand every word. The member then advised the presenter to return to her normal flow of dialogue and enjoyed the presentation with ease.
The BOAA member was provided with a pamphlet to take to her audiologist to inquire about activating a telecoil in her hearing aid, enabling her to seamlessly connect to the loop in future!