A new business in Bridgewater is on a mission — armed to the ears with audio gear — to make the province more accessible for the hearing impaired.
“We’re looking to do installations of these audio induction loops for people with hearing impairments here around Nova Scotia and hopefully, beyond,” said Stefan Ramey, an audio engineer.
Ramey and Cole Crouse, a hearing instrument specialist, are the founders of In The Loop Hearing.
The duo recently attended a training session in Michigan, U.S., for audio induction loop installations, a system which improves interactions for persons with a hearing impairment.
The potential for audio loop installations in the province, explained Ramey, is huge.
“Looking at the population of Nova Scotia, with an older demographic and a lot of whom suffer from hearing loss, we feel that this could be a huge benefit to assist those people as they go about doing their day-to-day activities,” he said.
Ramey explained that the company will primarily install two types of loops: a one-to-one loop and large area loops.
A one-to-one loop is one that can be installed at a service counter, but they can also be portable.
“If you have what’s called a telecoil, which is a little antenna within the hearing aid, you’d be able to press a button at the side, and any of the sound from the person that you’re dealing with, their voice would get transmitted directly into the hearing aid,” said Ramey.
The loop effectively eliminates a lot of background noise that a person with an assisted listening device might otherwise pick up.
For a large area loop system, a wire is run around the perimeter of the space and anyone who activates their telecoil within that space would have the audio transmitted to their device.
“We basically give them a direct connection to the PA [public address system],” said Ramey.
At this time, Crouse said, he was only aware of one other business in the province that installs loops.
And, explained Crouse, now is the time to make the province more accessible for the hearing impaired.
“We want Lunenburg County to be the kind of spark that sets Nova Scotia into that same idea of being leaders in accessibility for the hearing impaired,” he said. “It seems like a great opportunity to help a lot of people.”
Crouse also added that he’d been considering the idea for several years and felt compelled to act.
“There was no businesses around here installing loops,” he said.
Crouse contacted Ramey, friends since they were 13 years old, earlier this year to get the business started.
To date, the pair have had consultations in Chester, Mahone Bay and Bridgewater.
The short-term goal, they explained, is to educate the public about telecoils and audio loop systems so that people are aware that options exist to make the province more accessible.
“We think it’s important to be accessible for the hearing impaired,” said Crouse.