The circulation desk is the second area in the Waupaca Area Public Library to receive hearing loop technology.
The $670 cost for the hearing loop was funded by a $200 donation from the Lynwood Women’s Club, with the rest of the cost covered by an anonymous donation.
A hearing loop uses induction technology to transmit sound from a public address system’s microphone directly and wirelessly to the hearing aid’s built in telecoil, or T-coil, receiver. The technology also reduces background noise.
Last June, a hearing loop was installed in the library’s meeting rooms. It allows those who wear a hearing aid to be connected directly to the library’s public address system by simply flipping a switch on their hearing aid.
Waupaca’s library, as well as the Appleton Public Library, received this technology through a Library Services and Technology Act Grant.
Information about hearing loop technology will be the topic of a community meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the library’s lower-level meeting rooms.
Audiologist Juliette Sterkens, of Fox Valley Hearing Center, will make the presentation. She and her husband have installed hearing loops in about 30 churches in the state.
In Waupaca, First United Methodist Church has a hearing loop.
Peg Burington, director of the Waupaca Area Public Library, said the Oct. 28 meeting is not just for those who are hearing impaired but for the public so that this technology can be made available throughout the community.
Rheta Richardson is a member of the Lynwood Women’s Club, and she said that most people know someone who has a loss of hearing.
Her parents are in their 90s, and she often accompanies them and sees firsthand how much they miss when they cannot hear.
“I just feel that if there is anything we can do as a community or a family, let’s do it if possible,” Richardson said.
Both of her parents have hearing aids and are learning how to use the technology at First United Methodist Church and at the library.
Richardson said her parents attend Winchester Academy programs at the library. “It (the hearing loop) has enhanced what they hear,” she said.
The device for the library’s circulation area has arrived and will be installed before the Oct. 28 community informational meeting.
Richardson said the Lynwood Women’s Club has taken on different forms since it was first established. Originally, it was like a parent-teacher group, then changed after the school closed.
“The object of our society is helpfulness and friendship toward each other. We say that at every meeting,” she said.
The club takes on two projects each year.
Earlier this year, the group learned that Burington was installing a hearing loop in the library’s meeting rooms and that having a device installed by the library’s circulation desk was on the library’s wish list.
Many members of the Lynwood Women’s Club have a loss of hearing, and the group decided to donate money for the device.
Burington said the library wants one in the circulation area because it will allow staff to talk privately with library patrons.
“We’re the first in the community to have the one-on-one,” she said.
Burington said there are many places in the community, including doctor offices and banks, that could use these one-on-one devices.
Richardson said many are affected by hearing loss – and they are not just senior citizens. When people have a problem hearing, it affects their involvement in the community, she said.
For not quite $700, someone can have one-on-one devices installed. It costs between $6,000 and $10,000 to do an entire room, Burington said.
She said the Oct. 28 meeting is free and open to the public. “There will be a short presentation, and then, Juliette will show and help people see if they can use it with their hearing aids.”