The Church has made a significant effort over many years to understand the needs of members who are hard of hearing. The Church has researched possible options, and has set up various systems and devices to help, both in temples and in meetinghouses. This article summarizes the systems and equipment that are available.
Ward and stake leaders should become familiar with these technologies and ensure that all who may benefit are aware of and have access to the equipment.
Temples use an infrared system. Because of the sacred nature of the temple experience, this system was chosen to eliminate the potential transmission of the temple ceremony beyond the walls of the temple. In temples, those who are hard of hearing can request headsets.
Meetinghouses have two types of systems that function in the chapel and in the cultural hall. (The Relief Society, children’s, and multi-purpose rooms have in-room speakers to provide the necessary volume levels.)
Those who are hard of hearing can access a radio frequency system through the following devices:
- Radio Frequency (RF) Assistive Listening Receivers are pocket devices that use the chapel or cultural hall audio system to amplify sound to an earpiece. This system is the standard installation in meetinghouses in North America.
- Assisted Listening System (ALS) Neck Loops receive sound from the chapel or cultural hall audio system and broadcast it directly to an individual’s T-coil-compatible hearing aid.
Wards and branches should have multiple RF receivers and ALS neck loops. As needed, additional devices may be requested through the stake physical facilities representative.
Member feedback indicates that these systems are underutilized for the following reasons:
- Leaders and members are unaware of the availability of such technology.
- Members don’t ask about it because they don’t want to be a burden on leaders.
- Leaders assume that if the member has a hearing aid that the system won’t help. (But, as noted above, the neck loop system can boost the sound directly to the person’s hearing aid.)
See the notice recently send to ward and stake leaders around the world.
See the Church News article “Straining to Hear Each Sunday? Meetinghouse Listening Devices Dramatically Improve Participation.”