Lerner Theatre gets new system to pipe sound directly into hearing aids

September 24, 2016

Lerner Theatre patrons with hearing loss are now in the "Loop."

Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese announced Thursday that the installation of the Induction Loop System is operational for coming performances. The system will allow theatre sound through the public-address to flow directly to patrons' personal hearing aid devices.

Through a partnership between the Elkhart Lions Club, which raised funds for the project, and the city of Elkhart, the upgrade will enhance the digital hearing services which were already in place. Sharon Hirstein, an Elkhart audioogist, introduced the initial digital hearing system to the Lerner a year ago.

“The Elkhart Lions have supported numerous hearing projects in its 92-year history in the community,” said Marty Juel, Elkhart Lions Club member. “When we learned about the need to improve the theatre's audio system that would enhance the experiences for those with hearing aid devices, it was natural for us to respond. 'Looping the Lerner' is one of our Legacy projects, in recognition of Lions Clubs International's 100th anniversary in 2017."

The system will filter background noises and reverberations through wiring installed throughout the theatre. According to a media release, guests with any T-coil-equipped hearing aid can take advantage of the loop technology regardless of their type or degree of hearing loss.

“As the city continues to work towards complete ADA compliance, public-private partnerships are an excellent way to accomplish this goal,” Neese said. “The loop will enhance the listening experience of theatre guests and allow more individuals to enjoy this asset in our community. We are proud to partner with the Elkhart Lions Club and are grateful for their continued support.”