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Hearing impaired now “looped-in” inside Council Chambers


Enhanced system provides greater access


Keeping track of meetings inside King County Council chambers for citizens experiencing hearing loss is now easier with installation of a Hearing Loop System.

A hearing loop, or audio frequency induction loop (AFIL), is an assistive listening system for those who use a hearing aid. It takes a sound source like a microphone and magnetically transfers it directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants without interference or background noise.

“Almost 20 percent of Americans report hearing loss and almost 15 percent of school-age children, including my own middle school-aged son, have some degree of hearing loss,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci. “Looping the chambers is an important step to make King County meetings and deliberations more accessible to our constituents and will enable more people to engage in our civic life.”

Typically, hearing aids enhance sound in close conversational settings. But difficulties arise in large settings like meeting rooms when the level of ambient noise is great. The new loop system eliminates this issue and allows greater access to local government.

Receivers are not required and users don’t need a headset. Volume and frequency range can be adjusted on individual devices.

Headsets are still available for people who do not use hearing aids.

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