Accessibility

Worship at FJCC Now Accessible to Hard-of-Hearing

Hearing Loop Installed

The Flemington Jewish Community Center recently completed the successful installation of a “hearing loop” around the pews in its sanctuary.

Picture this - you are dealing with significant stress, and you enter your chosen house of worship, eager to enjoy a meaningful worship experience. Instead, you find yourself struggling to hear enough to make sense of what is being said and sung. You leave more exhausted and stressed than you were when you walked in.  Sadly, this is a common experience for hard-of-hearing individuals of all ages.

Catherine O’Shea, a member of the FJCC along with her husband Art Wetstein, is a hard-of-hearing volunteer and an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Last summer she shared information on a new "hearing loop" technology which can offer hard-of-hearing congregants "20/20 hearing." This technology uses a loop of wire, installed in the sanctuary, that transmits the output of the sound system to telecoils (or “t-coils”) implanted in most current hearing aids and/or Bluetooth streamers. When the hearing-aid wearer is sitting in the “looped” portion of the sanctuary, the telecoil functions as a wireless antenna that filters out other noise and delivers clarified sound from the sanctuary microphone directly to the listener.

Michael Wolf, a former president of the synagogue, is well versed in sound-system technology through his avocation as a musician. Dr. Wolf agreed to organize and oversee the loop installation and he recruited a team consisting of FJCC members Keith Gerstein, Nathan Lefko, Daniel Wasserman, and Adam Wolf. Together, the team installed the loop in time for the recent Jewish High Holy Day services.

Hard-of-hearing members of the congregation reported that the loop made “all the difference” in their ability to fully participate in services. The loop has been so enthusiastically received that the synagogue plans to loop the synagogue’s main meeting room as well.

For further information on looping options, you may reach Catherine O’Shea through the office at the FJCC.