New assistive hearing system at the Court
on Sep 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm
The Court has announced that, when it resumes oral arguments in October, visitors will be able to use a new “induction loop” assistive listening system that has been installed in the Courtroom. Visitors who use hearing aids or cochlear implants that include a telecoil (a small copper wire which boosts magnetic signals) will automatically experience improved sound quality and clarity simply by switching on their telecoil; no additional equipment is required. Visitors who do not wear telecoil-enabled hearing devices, but who wish to take advantage of the loop system, may borrow a headset from the Court that will give them the same benefits as those with telecoil-enabled hearing aids and implants.
The system works by transmitting sound electromagnetically. An alternating current is run through a wire around the Courtroom, thus creating a magnetic field; when a visitor wearing a telecoil enters the magnetic field, the telecoil picks up the electromagnetic signal, which is processed by a chip in the hearing aid/implant/headset, and fed to the listener’s ear as sound. The hearing rooms on Capitol Hill are looped, as is the main chamber of the House of Representatives.
The FM and infrared devices that the Court has previously offered will continue to be available.