If Ears Could Smile

The December edition of Inside Santa Barbara explores Hearing Loop Technology, with the Lobero Theatre at the center of the story.

Approximately 20% of American adults (that’s 48 million!) have some form of hearing loss in at least one ear, making it the most prevalent form of disability in the United States. Despite legislation and available technology to provide access, many individuals find their communication needs to be misunderstood and unaddressed. Consequently, they seriously cut back on attendance, reducing audience size at performances, events, meetings and religious services throughout our community.

Hearing Loops are the only assistive listening system to send clear, pure sound directly to hearing aids and are considered the international standard for universal hearing access. As a part of the Encore: Lobero preservation work completed in 2013, the Lobero Theatre was wired with loops, bringing clear sound back for many patrons to experience via their own hearing aids. Blog readers may remember learning about these in this previous post, or by visiting loopsantabarbara.org.

Learn more from the Lobero’s House Manager Daniel Ramirez in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KILspOYLmYA?t=3m44s

Inside Santa Barbara airs on the following days and times on City TV Channel 18: Mondays at 8 p.m.; Tuesdays at 5 p.m.; Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday at 9 p.m.; and Sundays at 10 p.m. Viewers can also watch Inside Santa Barbara online at www.santabarbaraca.gov/citytv. For more information on Inside Santa Barbara, call CityTV at 564-5311.

Awards and Rewards

Congratulations!

UPDATE: October is National Disability Month, and this year’s theme is just that: Expect, Employ, Empower. Read more about the Award Ceremony and meet the day’s winners, here.  

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, left, with Mayor’s Award recipients Thomas Kaufmann of Otojoy; Mary Tremel of DuPont and David Asbell of the Lobero Theatre. (Mayor’s Organizing Committee photo)

The Lobero Theatre has won a Design & Accessibility award from the Mayor’s office in honor of the work undertaken to improve the theatre’s access to patrons with disabilities, including the installation of  hearing loop technology, creating an accessible path of travel with a level gathering space, enlarging and improving the restrooms, the installation of a wheelchair lift to the stage and the new seat map with eight wheelchair spaces in a variety of locations.

The Mayor’s office states, “The Design/Accessibility Award will be presented to a person or entity that has developed innovative and creative solutions for accessible structures, buildings or services, or provided accommodations to create equal and aesthetic access. This year’s award goes to the Lobero Theatre, for their two-and-a-half-year renovation to improve their accessibility. Executive Director David Asbell will accept the award.”

On behalf of the Lobero Theatre Foundation, I can say that we are thrilled to be a community resource that is welcoming and accessible to all of our patrons. This is a very rewarding accolade and one that means a great deal to us.

“Hearing loop user Jim Glass had this to say, “I just wanted to reiterate how terrific the hearing loop installation is at the Lobero…All of a sudden, when David [Crosby] hit the first note, I literally couldn’t believe my ears! I heard the pick against the guitar strings, his swallowing before the next verse – the depth of the sound was truly overwhelming.”

Lobero Theatre Foundation Board President Jeff DeVine commented, “The Lobero owes a debt of gratitude to so many: to our very generous patrons and the people who faithfully attend Lobero shows; and to our staff and Board of Directors who serve with compassion and an inspiring sense of responsibility; our tireless Campaign Chair Jim Morouse; and also to the experts who helped us preserve historic and architectural integrity while enhancing performance and audience comfort aspects so the theater remains viable. We extend our heartfelt thanks.”

You can learn more about Hearing Loop here, but the best way to experience the upgrades to the theatre is to come and see a show.

 

Hearing Loop available at the Lobero

Let’s Loop Santa Barbara is Celebrating its 1st Anniversary

28 locations in the area offering this new technology

The Lobero Theatre and the New Victoria Theatre (New Vic) have recently joined the growing ranks of local venues to adopt state-of-the-art hearing loop technology, including Campbell Hall at UCSB, the University Club of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Mary Craig Auditorium and the Ojai Playhouse. For a full list of looped venues, visit www.loopsantabarbara.org.

In May of last year, “Let’s Loop Santa Barbara” set out to turn Santa Barbara into one of the most hearing accessible cities in California. A year later, there are 28 places offering hearing loop technology across our region. Because of this important movement, individuals with hearing loss are obtaining equal access through the usage of hearing loop technology.

Already widely used in Europe and Scandinavia, hearing loops are rapidly gaining popularity across the US, thanks to advocacy campaigns like “Let’s Loop Santa Barbara” brought to the community by the Independent Living Resource Center. The technology lets hearing aid users receive sound signals directly through their t-coil enabled hearing aids. As most hearing aids include a t-coil as standard, users do not need any additional equipment to access sound in a looped venue – a major advantage over other systems.

The hearing loop installation at the Lobero Theatre has been entirely funded by Jack and Kathleen Moseley, contributors to the Encore: Lobero capital campaign. Speaking about his donation, Mr. Moseley said, “I am just pleased that more hard-of-hearing people can enjoy the theatre.”

Read more about the Lobero’s recent Encore: Lobero upgrades to improve accessibility here.

Special thanks to Loop Santa Barbara and the Independent Living Resource Center, Inc. Learn more at www.loopsantabarbara.org & www.ilrc-trico.org