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Better hearing at the supermarket

People without hearing loss may not be aware of the obstacles of the condition when it comes to daily activities. Simply hearing friends and family correctly can be difficult enough, but what about going to the store? Hearing loss in noisy settings is the most common condition, and it can be challenging for people to understand things like an announcement system or even the cashier telling them the total. Luckily, many companies understand the condition, and have added more hearing loops across the country.

Hearing in public places

People with hearing loss, including those who wear hearing aids, may have trouble doing everyday activities like going to the supermarket. As many people with hearing loss depend on lip reading, this can be especially problematic. Just imagine the way you say the words 'fifteen' and 'fifty.' They are incredibly similar!

Hearing loops are being installed in public places across the nation, including shopping centers, museums, theaters, sports complexes and more.

Hearing loops in stores

Fairway Market, a New York City-based grocer, announced in August 2013 that the Broadway store is the first supermarket in the Big Apple to install a hearing loop at the deli, where communicating with the person behind the counter can be extremely difficult.

"We are very pleased to incorporate this new technology into our flagship store," Herb Ruetsch, Chief executive officer of Fairway Market said. "The deli can be a very noisy environment, and our customers living with hearing loss will greatly benefit from the hearing loop and enjoy a much better shopping experience."

At the Fairway Market, people with telecoil-equipped hearing aids can clearly understand the person at the deli counter. The employee has a microphone to speak into, which is connected to the hearing loop. The voice is then transmitted wirelessly to the hearing aids seamlessly.

Similar technology was installed at a few Whole Foods Markets in Florida. Because of the high population of hearing aid wearers in the Sunshine State, the stores added a hearing loop to one of their cash registers. A Jacksonville and Sarasota store feature the hearing loops so customers can clearly hear the voices of employees at the register.

What do you need to be in the loop?

Hearing loops serve as a loud speaker or personal microphone for people who are wearing hearing aids. Also referred to as induction loop systems, this technology uses magnetically transmitted sound that is delivered directly to the hearing aids. In order to take advantage of the hearing loops, you will need instruments that feature a telecoil, or t-coil. This is common on digital hearing aids and newer devices. Hearing loops can even be used within your home while watching television.

If you want to learn more about hearing loops or find hearing aids with a telecoil, visit an audiologist close by. There's no reason you can't enjoy the same things that people without hearing loss can. Your hearing healthcare professional may also be able to give you information about local venues and centers that feature hearing loops.

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