The Eugene Airport is proud to announce the recent installation of Hearing Loop technology at the airport. The Hearing Loop technology was recently installed at all the rental car and airline ticket counter locations in the airport terminal building, with the intent to expand coverage to the airline gate areas in the future.
The Eugene Airport partnered with The Shedd Institute, Eugene’s leading venue that uses hearing loops throughout its facility, and Ginevra Ralph, hearing loss and hearing loop advocate, to better understand hearing loops and the difference this great technology can have on travelers with hearing loss.
“Good communication is a basic requirement for creating a positive travel experience for the passengers at the Eugene Airport,” said Acting Eugene Airport Director Cathryn Stephens, A.A.E. “We are excited to now have Hearing Loop technology available for our guests at EUG.”
A Hearing Loop (sometimes called an audio induction loop) is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids or hearing implants. The Hearing Loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to 'T' (Telecoil) setting. The system transmits an audio signal directly into a hearing aid via a magnetic field greatly reducing background noise, competing sounds, reverberation and other acoustic distortions that reduce clarity of sound. The hearing loops are universal and directly compatible with any brand of hearing aid or implant that has a telecoil. They are dignified in that they do not require the hearing instrument user to call attention to themselves.
During COVID-19 those with hearing loss have experienced additional obstacles due to physical distancing, masks and plexiglass barricades. This technology increases accessibility to the services that the Eugene Airport offers and gives them a safer and more enjoyable travel experience. An estimated 15% of Americans over age 18 have a hearing disability. The Eugene Airport saw 1.2 million passengers per year in 2019 come through the terminal pre-pandemic. Based on those numbers these hearing loops could potentially serve approximately 180,000 Eugene Airport passengers each year.
“Traveling is both exhilarating and challenging, but for those with hearing loss it can be stressful and even dangerous,” said co-chair of The Shedd Institute’s Loop Lane County Committee Sue Prichard. “Hearing loops are to hearing aids what ramps are to wheelchairs. With their loop installations Eugene Airport removes a major stress barrier and becomes truly accessible to travelers who use hearing devices.”
Funding for the Hearing Loops was provided by the Telecom Tech Bridge Award. This grant is intended to fund new and innovative telecom technologies in the City of Eugene. The funding is made possible through the reinvestment of dedicated tax funds collected from telecommunications and cable communications providers.