Hearing Assistance > A Comparison Of Hearing Assistance Systems
A Comparison Of Hearing Assistance Systems
As far as hearing impaired systems are concerned, there are basically four types of systems for this application. The pros and cons are as follows.
- One approach is a wired system. This consists of permanently
installed hearing stations mounted on pew backs. This method is
obsolete and would need to be custom built. When you consider
that the units would be costly to build, and a considerable amount
of labour is required to install it, this is an expensive approach.
Combine this with the fact that people can only sit where there
is a station, and it is easy to see why this is not a practical
- Another old type of system is the "loop". This is
a wire which surrounds the room. It acts as an antenna, transmitting
to hearing aids. Although it is still used with some success, it
is now obsolete. This method requires each listener to have a
hearing aid with a "telephone" switch, it is only useful
in the room which it is installed in, and is prone to electrical
noise interference. Installation of this system is also quite
expensive, critical and often unreliable.
- A system which is quite popular in theaters and lecture hall
translation applications is the infrared system. We do handle
these, however we don't recommend them to churches. The system
consists of a power unit which is usually located near the amplifier.
It is wired to an emitter installed on the ceiling or wall. The
emitter transmits to any number of "under chin" receivers
in the room. This is fine for most theater applications but presents
problems in churches. Since the system requires line of sight,
the receivers must always "see" the emitter. The signal
is blocked if people stand up or turn around. Although the users
can sit anywhere they can see the emitter, the system is usable
only in the one room. The receivers are also very conspicuous.
The cost of the infrared system is also higher than the Radio systems.
- The type of hearing assistance and translation we always use
in Churches is a Radio Frequency system. This consists of a transmitter
which connects directly to your mixer (or microphone for translation)
and pocket receivers for the people who need them. The sound from
all your microphones is transmitted to the pocket receivers so
that everyone can hear everything through earphones. The system
offers many earphone and neck loop options. Everyone has their
own receiver with volume control. Because the system is Radio,
it does not require line of sight. Therefore people can sit anywhere
they like. Even in other parts of the building.