Addressing Hearing Loss Among Friends

A work in progress:  answering  Friends questions on  Meeting solutions, specific examples -- what do you want to know? Please send coments to Karen_Street at sbcglobal dot net

Begin with the article Addressing Hearing Loss Among Friends

Note: the presence on this site of links to commercial sites is only for information. It does not mean I recommend that site. Usually, I have no clue whether their products are good or bad. Check out Meeting Solutions to see what others are doing or where they can use help.

Addressing the Feelings

Much technical information is available on the British site, 
Royal National Institute for Deaf People. Check out the technology FAQs, fact sheets, etc
Some Information on Hearing Aids

Choosing an Assistive Listening System

  Dealing with Manufacturers

Call them and tell them your needs. It's almost impossible to find the information you need on their products from their web sites. They will also recommend local vendors.

Microphone Issues

Headsets, Neckloops, and More


Survivor's Manual

Facing the Challenge a Survivor's Manual for Hard of Hearing People produced by SHHH in Oregon. This is excellent! You can buy copies from Leone Miller.

Room Acoustics

Statistics on Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is often calculated as an average of loss at four frequencies: 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz
Other People's Explanations of Techical Topics

Meeting Solutions

What is your Meeting doing that works? What could your Meeting do?

What I Used at Friends General Conference

Friends General Conference workshops have about 20 participants. I use six microphones plus a mixer (system purchased from Robert Mendoza. He gives 20% discounts on group purchases, so contact me to see if a group order list exists.) The mixer output is attached to an FM transmitter. (Very simple to use, but allow five to ten minutes for set up and take down. Workshop participants often help with packing.) Anyone in the room with an FM receiver set to the transmitter frequency will benefit from this system — dinner at a restaurant with one system and six of us each with a receiver, and we could all hear!

Two groups used this so far at FGC, and the comments were very positive, eg, "We spoke more thoughtfully because of the short delay while picking up the microphone; the messages were deeper."

Berkeley Meeting's Questionnaire for Members and Attenders, Draft

Accessibility Survey

There are members and attenders of Berkeley Friends Meeting with disabilities and differences, and a number of our members are getting older.  This survey is meant to open discussion about their needs and all of our attitudes .  How can we make worship and participation more meaningful and accessible for all of our attenders and members?  Please answer any questions that apply to you.  We need each person’s gifts.

1. Check any of the following which you attend.

                                                      Attend  (yes/no)    How often?    Accessibility                                    
First Day meetings for worship                __

Monthly business meetings                      __

Committee Meetings                                __ 

Adult Education Programs                       __

Quarterly meetings                                   __

Quarterly campouts                                  __

Pacific Yearly Meeting                            __
Friends General Conference                     __

Quaker Center Programs                          __
What would make these meetings more accessible to you?  (FOR ANY ANSWERS LONGER THAN SPACE PROVIDED, USE BACK OF FORM AND PUT QUESTION NUMBER)

2. How do you get to meetings?             Do you need a ride?     Can you offer a ride?     Can you be a partner/companion (not an attendant) to someone who asks for one?

3. Would you like a ride to meetings on rainy days?

4. Do you use a mobility device?  Please circle any that you use. 
Cane, wheelchair, electric wheelchair, walker, scooter, other.

5. Once you are inside the meeting, can you sit comfortably on the benches?

6. Can you stand up from the benches at the end of the meeting without assistance?

7. Do you have any special needs during potlucks?    Refreshments?

8. Do you have a sensitivity to fragrances, odors, or smoke?  Please describe.

9. Can you hear messages during a meeting for worship?        Can you hear during a business meeting?        Can you hear during a committee meeting?

10. Do you use a hearing aid?       Does it have a T-switch?

11. Do you use the current listening devices?  Do they help enough that you understand all messages?

12. Would it help for people with “different” speech to have interpreters during worship so that you could understand them more easily?

13. What do you think of the use of microphones in Meeting for Worship?  Meeting for Business?  Programs?  Committee Meetings?

14. Whether or not you are hard of hearing, have you ever tried the available hearing devices?  If so, what is your assessment of their effectiveness?  If not, please try one.

15. Do you have a vision problem?

16. If you do, have you been oriented around the meeting house and the education building?

17. Can you locate a seat during worship?

18. Can you locate the restroom?

19. Can you read the notices on the bulletin board?      Can you read the notices in the education building?

20. Do you need the monthly newsletter in a different format?  What format?

21. During potlucks do you need your plate filled?

22. During peace demonstrations or other activities do you need a companion?

23. Do you have a child with special needs?  Is she/he attending First Day School? Are their needs being met?  If not, what would you change?

24.  Are your family’s needs at Meeting events (rise of meeting, picnics, potlucks, etc.) being met?

25.  Would you like a visit from the Visiting Committee or a phone call from a Friend?



Age:   __ UNDER 25     __  25 to 45     __ 46 to 65     __ 66 to 85      __   over  85


How Many Do We Want to Hear?

Ask this question along with how people feel about handheld microphones.

For most people with moderate hearing loss or worse, hanging microphones do NOT work, no matter how many. Assistive Listening Systems (ALS) are designed to avoid the room's acoustics; this requires a short distance between microphone and mouth. There are exceptions; for example, if much of the echo comes from a table everyone is gathered round, or one wall, a conference mic on the table, a PZM on that wall, may help people with moderate hearing loss. Unless your Meeting is small, it is not likely that hanging microphones, no matter how high quality, no matter where they are placed, will allow everyone to hear.

We can include people present by transcribing messages, possibly putting them on a screen for several to read. Other methods surely exist.

How many do we want to hear? Do we want to avoid handheld microphones and choose other methods to include those who cannot hear?