Impact Stories


Have you ever thought about whether a hearing loop requires permanent installation?


Have you ever wondered whether a Hearing Loop must be permanently installed? Not necessarily! A temporary installation for an event is an option to consider. What follows is a story of one such temporary installation that Better Hearing Solutions did about a year ago.


The Deaf Blind International (DBI) organization holds a conference somewhere in the world every four years, making it a truly international event. Canada was the country of choice for the 2023 conference and the Shaw Centre in Ottawa was the venue chosen to host the event.


DBI events need to support many disabilities, including hearing loss. Many of the approximately 600 attendees from all over the world would expect to find hearing loops at a conference. Having originally understood during the venue pre-selection process that the Shaw Centre’s assistive listening technology included hearing loops, the lack of hearing loop technology came as a surprise to the organizers, during the final pre-event premise review just a few months before the conference date. Interestingly enough, the Shaw Centre was the recipient of the International Association of Conference Centres (AIPC) APEX award for “World’s Best Convention Centre”.


What happened next?


Upon the discovery that there were no hearing loops available a the Shaw Centre, DeafBlind Ontario engaged with Canadian Hearing Services (CHS) to arrange for hearing loop access for the upcoming Deafblind International World Conference.


Better Hearing Solutions was subsequently contacted by the CHS person in charge of accessibility for the upcoming Deafblind International World Conference in Ottawa. In turn, we were connected with the CanPlan Event & Conference Services event planner and then to the Event Lead with AV-Canada. The ball was rolling!

After submitting a shoot from the hip budget price, we were invited to perform site evaluations in advance of design and engineering and a proposal for the loop systems required to provide hearing access to the attendees in the several rooms to be used for the conference. The proposal was accepted and plans were made to get on site and install the systems in 5 meeting rooms and 2 systems in a large plenary session room.


Two of our staff members laid out and taped down approximately 6000 feet (1800 m) of wire over 22 hours and another 4 hours to connect the 7 hearing loop drivers (amplifiers). The tight scheduling constraints required considerable planning to coordinate the loop wiring, table and chair setups, and the AV setups in each space. A temporary countertop system was installed at the registration desk to assist with hearing at the check-in stage. Several hearing loop listeners were provided to assist attendees needing hearing support but lacking a telecoil.


The conference took place over the next 5+ days, after which the system takedown and cleanup took place. Takedown time was fast – only 3 hours!


"Is it necessary to install a Hearing Loop permanently?”


No, temporary hearing loops can provide the same quality listening experience. However, when the event is over, the hearing loop is no longer in place, and subsequent venue events no longer provide attendees with the much preferred listening technology.


Do temporary installations lead to permanent installations?


Yes, if attendees and beneficiaries advocate for permanent solutions after experiencing the delights and benefits of a temporary system. Venue owners need encouragement from their customers. And, from whom better than someone who has had a positive hearing loop experience?


Let’s GITHL. Advocate for temporary and permanent hearing loops everywhere you want to hear better - at houses of worship, theatres, meeting spaces (even outdoors), travel terminal concourses, reception and service counters, and taxis!


W. Droogendyk