When we ask our patients to tell us the situations in which they most struggle to hear, one of the most common is at church. This is not a surprise, as the size of the building, the size of the congregation and the variations in communication systems can make church a difficult hearing environment whether you experience hearing loss or not. Here are some tips for hearing better when you attend services:
- Plan your seating as well as possible. Sitting close enough to see the speaker’s face will help you to read their lips and body language, which contributes immensely to understanding. Also, try to sit away from people, heaters or doors that make a lot of noise.
- Take advantage of a Comtek or other large area assistive listening systems. Many churches have started to install these systems which includes a transmitter which links to the church microphone. A patron can check-out a receiver unit with headphones and then essentially hear the service direct through the headphones. If your church has one of these systems and you find it effective for you, you may want to consider purchasing your own receiver unit. We can order those in our office or you can order them straight from the manufacturer for around $150.
- Take advantage of your hearing aid technology. Many churches have also invested in a “looping” system which turns the hearing aid telecoil into a personal hearing device for the user. If you see a sign like the blue one to the right, it means that there is a looping system available. (Watch for this sign at theaters, auditoriums, airports and even drive-thru windows as well!) Even if your church doesn’t have a looping system, your hearing aid may have the option to create a specific program for church services. You can talk to your audiologist about your options.
- Look into new geo-tagging hearing technology. We are anticipating some new hearing devices that interact with iPhones that will allow you control over your hearing devices, then the phone will “geo-tag” that location so that the next time you are there, it will automatically make the adjustments that you prefer. We expect to see this technology in April 2014.
For many patients, attending church is a high priority in their lives and it can be frustrating to make the time to attend and then not hear the service as well as they would like to. Following these tips and working with a qualified hearing care professional can make attending church a much more enjoyable process.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an evaluation with one of our award-winning audiologists, give us a call at 801-770-0801.