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Over the school holidays, Nathan and I took the kids, and some friends from out of town, to the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement. It is not the first time the kids and I have been, though it was a first for Nathan. What was a first time for all of us (with the exception of Angus who went with his school camp), was the Heartbeat of the Murray. It was absolutley spectacular!
On a freezing cold winters evening, a group of approximately 70+ people braved the cold to sit in the Grand-stand and watch the show. We had been told that it was a wonderful experience and we had to go and see it.
It got me thinking though – whilst there were plenty of lights and visual effects, the narrative, music and the ambient sounds of a heart beat as you walk through the Settlement after dark made me wonder about those who have a hearing impairment and how they would fair if they went to see this show or something like it.
Earlier in the day, whilst walking around the Pioneer Settlement, I had had-a-look around the venue for the show and found, much to my delight, that they did cater for those who wear hearing aids. The Heartbeat of the Murray show at the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement has been outfitted with a Telecoil! Yep. The tell-tale blue sign indicating that if your hearing aid is equipped with a telecoil and it can be activated, it should be!
What is a telecoil? I hear you ask. A telecoil is a small coil inside the hearing aid that receives a signal from a loop system that acts as an electromagnetic field. When activated, the telecoil converts this electromagnetic field into sound. Simply put, when you turn the telecoil on in the hearing aid, any sound that is streaming through the sound system, will stream directly into the hearing aid – making the experience easy to hear and understand.
These telecoil systems are available in many places, Train stations, Public/Town Halls, Council Offices, Churches to name just a few. We don’t utilise this feature in our hearing aids enough. Nearly all hearing aids are or can be equipped with a telecoil or a device that will stream sound via the telecoil, to allow enjoyment of these such events. Why should anyone miss out on an experience like the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement’s Sound & Light Show, just because of a little hearing loss?!
If you or someone you know has a hearing aid, and they enjoy these and similar experiences that enrich our lives and give us enjoyment, contact your hearing health provider and ask them about telecoil. Is their/your hearing aid capable of connecting to it? How does it work? What needs to be done so that it can be utilised? We need to make sure we are using these facilities when they are there, they are fantastic and make it so much more enjoyable when everyone can hear!