Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) October 17, 2013
Two historic Santa Barbara theatres are to have state-of-the-art hearing loop systems installed. The Lobero Theatre and the New Victoria Theatre (New Vic) will join the growing ranks of local and national venues to adopt hearing loop technology when they reopen in December after undergoing extensive renovation work.
Already widely used in Europe and Scandinavia, hearing loops are rapidly gaining popularity across the US, thanks to the campaigning of advocacy campaigns like "Let's Loop Santa Barbara" (LLSB) 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.
“We are thrilled to have more options for the hearing impaired to enjoy our productions,” said Jonathan Fox, Artistic Director of the Ensemble Theatre Company, who will be moving from their current base at the Alhecama Theatre to the New Victoria when the $10.5 million renovation project is complete. “The Loop will allow those patrons with hearing aids to easily and discretely connect with the performance without the need for separate headsets.”
The hearing loop installation at the Lobero Theatre has been entirely funded by Jack and Kathleen Moseley, who also contributed to the theatre’s capital campaign. Speaking about his donation, Mr. Moseley said, “I am just pleased that more hard-of-hearing people can enjoy the theatre.”
Many of Santa Barbara’s 90,000 residents with hearing loss currently lack easy access to live theatre performances. Of her own experiences Cherie Alvarez, President of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America said, “I attended theatre in Santa Barbara consistently until the mid-90s, when my hereditary hearing loss became so severe that I could no longer understand what was being said.” She is looking forward to attending a looped theatre performance. “I’ve missed it and always wanted to introduce my daughters to the vibrant experience of live theatre. Now we can go together; see it, feel it, and hear it. I am thrilled!”
Additional hearing loops in the local community can be found at the University of California Santa Barbara's Campbell Hall, which is used for their Arts & Lectures series, at the University Club of Santa Barbara, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's Mary Craig Auditorium, at the Ojai Playhouse, as well as several other venues.
The Independent Living Resource Center, Inc. (ILRC) is a community-based, private non-profit organization of, by and for persons with disabilities. ILRC promotes the independent living philosophy and its tenets of full access, equal opportunity and maximum success and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities. The staff’s goal is to eliminate barriers to full participation in the community.