Google Maps Now Includes Hearing Loops
December 14, 2022
By Cheri Perazzoli, Get in the Hearing Loop Program, volunteer committee chair
Having hearing loss requires us to think about how we will hear everywhere we go. This can be particularly challenging in public settings like places of worship, a meeting room, or even a service counter where hearing aids alone are often not enough. Assistive listening systems like hearing loops can help you hear better in different locations — but when you’re planning your day out and about, how do you know where hearing loops are?
Know Before You Go
Thanks to a joint effort by HLAA’s Get in the Hearing Loop (GITHL) program and Google, you can now use the Google Maps app to find out before you go if a hearing loop is available at a business or venue. At the request of the HLAA GITHL committee, Google has recently added Assistive Hearing Loop as an accessibility attribute in Google Maps. Having easy access to hearing loop locations will help millions of people with hearing loss find communication access when they venture out. GITHL is helping Google Maps add loop locations to its database, and venues can also update their profiles with this information.
Hearing Loop Benefits
Hearing loops are user-friendly assistive listening systems that offer easy, immediate, discreet communication access and universal hearing aid compatibility.
A hearing loop system transmits an audio signal directly into telecoil-enabled hearing devices via a magnetic field, greatly reducing background noise. Most prescription hearing aids and cochlear implants have telecoils, ask your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist about how to use this function.
For people without hearing devices or hearing devices without a telecoil, public venues are required to provide hearing loop receivers and headphones. Watch this video on how hearing loops work.
Google Maps Gamechanger
With Google Maps hearing loop information at our fingertips, we can easily find looped locations and plan outings, errands, and activities that are hearing accessible. Without this much needed information, we may have simply stayed home.
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