It doesn't look like much, does it?
Kind of looks like a heating pad.
But my husband Scott Troyer and I are hoping this little gizmo will change a few lives.
It's a portable looping system that can be used in cars, boardrooms and living rooms. The pad fits under or on the seat of your chair and microphones are placed strategically so that a person who has hearing loss can actually understand what is going on around them -- instead of taking their hearing aids off because they are frustrated by all the noise around them.
So the driving snowbird can actually hear his partner on the long drive to Florida. Or a child with a cochlear implant sitting in the backseat can talk to her mom on the way to hockey practice.
It's not perfect and not for everybody but isn't it nice to know that those hearing aids you paid a few thousand bucks for will actually do you some good while driving around town, or watching the Superbowl on the big screen with your family cheering along?
This solution is now available in Canada and is reasonably priced.
We got the idea because Scott is a car salesman at Ogilvy Subaru in Ottawa and he has a good number of customers who wear hearing aids. The Bluetooth is fine for the phone, but it just doesn't cut it for the rest of the car. So we went looking for a solution and found it at Advanced Listening Systems out in Victoria. Company head Tim Archer, who installs looping systems for businesses, governments and churches, sent us our kit just this week and we will be testing it with Subaru customers.
I will be sharing the results in an upcoming video blog.
Scott is hoping to lead by example to make Ogilvy the first hearing friendly car dealership in Canada, offering solutions for people who wear hearing aids. He will put up the T-coil sign at his desk identifying him as a hearing friendly car salesman. That's important because many people who wear hearing aids feel self-conscious. A lot of them don't like their hearing aids or simply don't want people to know they are wearing them.
We're hoping, in our own small way, to change that.
All they need is our little heating pad gizmo and an active T-Coil in their hearing aids.
So, Subaru drivers, Turn on the T-Coil.
You know you want to.
People with hearing loss should be loud and proud and stick up for their rights.
Starting in January, businesses and not-for-profits with more than 20 employees will be obligated under the Ontario Disabilities Act to better serve people with disabilities, and to ensure that their staff are sensitive to their needs.
Our little gizmo -- I haven't invented a name for it -- would work beautifully in all environments, not just cars. And people with hearing loss won't have to wear a loop around their necks advertising to the world that they can't hear as well as the rest of the population.
They won't feel frustrated sitting in a boardroom, and decide not to speak up.
Maybe they'll get out in the world a little more.
Maybe they'll stop falling asleep in church.
There is simply no reason that Canadians with hearing loss have to suffer in silence, while the rest of the world is able to walk around museums, take taxis, and do their grocery shopping with the benefit of hearing loops.
Let's get with the program, shall we?
You can demand to be served by your government in both official languages, but in the past,you had no right to be served in a hearing environment.
It only took Ontario fifty years.
But it's here, so let's take advantage of the new laws.
So come out and support us.
If you're in Ottawa, look Scott up. He'll be in the Subaru with the gizmo.
Come take it for a spin.
You can contact Scott at 613-294-6217.