Hearing loop installed at the Louisville Free Public Library - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hearing loop installed at the Louisville Free Public Library

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It may sound too good to be true, but it's not.  New technology to Metro Louisville will now send a clear message to thousands of people who are hard of hearing.

"I've been hard of hearing my whole life," said Paula Esterle with The Hearing Loss Association of America's (HLAA) Kentucky Chapter.  She wears a hearing aid and even reads lips to cope with hearing loss, but it's not always easy.  Esterle says, "Because when we're in a large group that's out, that's the biggest challenge."

It is a problem Esterle will no longer have at Louisville's main library. 

"Craig and his team here at the library are always pushing the edge to see how we can make our user experience even more enjoyable," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

On Friday, Mayor Fischer and Library Director Craig Buthod unveiled the Hearing Loop. It will allow people who are hard of hearing to get a clear message when attending events in the library's auditorium.

"This cooper wire now runs under every row in this whole auditorium," said Buthod during a demonstration.  The copper wire is linked to a special amplifier connected to the auditorium's sound system.  And with special earphones, everyone will get the message.

Buthod said, "This is what transfers the signal from the microphone to the hearing aid."

"That's such an incredible way to move forward for our population whom is becoming hard of hearing," said Brett Bachmann, Chief Executive Officer with Heuser Hearing Institute. "We basically take care of all of the hearing issues from birth through the entire life cycle."

Bachmann says the Hearing Loop technology will also boost the self-esteem of people with hearing loss. 

"As people tend to lose their hearing...they tend to withdraw from their communities," said Bachmann.

And that's why Esterle and several hundred people attending this year's Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are hoping the Hearing Loop doesn't stop at the library. 

"And hopefully it will lead the way for churches and other venues to install this affordable technology," said Esterle.

The Hearing Loop will soon be installed in other libraries across the city.  The goal is to inspire others to do the same.

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