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New system at the library aides the hearing impaired
The Bainbridge Public Library is making some noise on behalf of the island’s hearing impaired, and everyone should be able to hear it just fine.
Made possible by a grant from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge, the library has installed a hearing loop system to better enable islanders with hearing loss to attend and participate in the many diverse events held in the large Community Room.
“We want to provide good access to our silently disadvantaged residents through the new
hearing assistive technology,” said Bob Bosserman, facilities committee chair for the library’s board of directors.
He noted that the Community Room, the library’s largest and most utilized public meeting space, is booked an average of 22 days a month.
The equipment was installed by Rick Faunt of Now Hear This! on Sunday, June 15 and all testing and adjustments were completed before the end of the month.
Hearing or “induction” loops transmit the audio from a PA system directly to telecoil-equipped hearing aids and cochlear implants. The telecoil functions as an antenna, relaying sounds directly into the ear without background noise or distortion, just like Wi-Fi connects people to the internet.
Though not a new technology, there has been a recent national campaign to increase the usage of the system.
Data from the 2010 Census showed that of Bainbridge’s population of 23,000, nearly 30 percent is 50 to 64 years old, while 16 percent is 65 and over. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 18 percent of adults 45 to 64 have hearing loss. The ration increases to one in three by age 65 and to nearly half by age 75.
According to the library, at a minimum, the current hearing-impaired population of Bainbridge is between 2,500 and 3,000 and will continue to grow.
For more information, visit www.bainbridgepubliclibrary.org.