Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Technology Helps Parishioners Hear the Word More Clearly

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Technology Helps Parishioners Hear the Word More Clearly

Article excerpt

Modern technology and a new awareness of the needs of the hearing-impaired have prompted more area churches to install listening devices for their congregations.

The systems include an infrared set-up in which sound is transmitted by light waves and FM systems integrated into the church's public-address systems.

Pastors and advocates for the deaf say the listening devices enhance the words of the service for the profoundly deaf, those with mild to severe hearing impairments, and those for whom background noise muddies what is being said.

An FM system from Daniels Enterprises Inc. in St. Charles was recently installed at Faith United Methodist Church on Droste Road. The system cost $638 and includes cabling, a transmitter, and four receivers with ear buds. Ushers give out the hearing-aid receivers and buds before the service.

One Faith member, Vera Linkous, said the listening device had inspired her to consider a hearing aid. Linkous, 67, is deaf in one ear and has a slight hearing loss in the other.

"Before, I had a difficult time picking up some of the words in the Sunday sermons," Linkous said. "I couldn't believe the difference when I used the device. It was as though the pastor was talking just to me - I could hear every single word."

St. John United Church of Christ on Fifth Street in St. Charles installed an infrared system two years ago. The emitters, placed above the altar, send the sound to receivers. The receivers are equipped with volume controls and powered by rechargeable batteries. They can be worn in two ways: behind the ear and around the neck. Of the 10 such receivers at St. John, at least four or five are used at each service, primarily by the elderly.

The new system replaced one in which congregants plugged a device into the pew and wore it over their ears, said the Rev. Rick Zuch of St. …

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