ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A trip to the movies can be a fun adventure, but it can be a challenge if you have a hearing impairment. Now Hart Hearing Centers is sponsoring a project at The Little Theatre to change that.
“We made the decision, we want everyone to have the same experience," said Dr. Peter Hart, an audiologist Hart Hearing Centers. "And we hear it day after day, patients just stop going to the movies. They just don’t go, because they get maybe 10 percent of what they’re hearing.”
They’re installing a hearing loop. It’s a signal that wirelessly transmits clear sound directly to hearing aids.
For Don Bataille, the man installing the system, it’s personal. He experienced sudden hearing loss and wears a hearing aid.
“As an architect, I studied acoustics and tried to figure out, what can we do to make spaces sound better," said Bataille, of Hearing Loops Unlimited.
He’s installed Hearing Loops all over New York State and sees how it changes lives.
“You just see the smile on their face," Bataille said. "It’s fantastic, and you know that it’s working, and they’re hearing so much more, now they can participate. The problem with hearing loss is people tend to withdraw, because they’re not hearing, they’re not being part of the conversation.”
If you think this system’s not for you, think again. The Hearing Loop can be accessed through headphones by anyone who wants to hear the movie better, and it can be an issue beyond Rochester’s sizable deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
“This is something that could happen to anyone," Scott Pukos of The Little Theatre said. "Maybe you think of a certain demographic that have the hearing problems, but it’s not, it’s everyone, it’s people of all ages, so this really just makes it more enjoyable, more pleasurable for people to come to the movies.”
There’s one extra use for it: if you’re on a date, and you just don’t want to listen to your date.
“We don’t advertise that," Pukos said. "But that could be a way to tune them out.”