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Arizona becomes second Legislature to install technology for hard-of-hearing

Jan 5, 2017, 5:33 AM
The T-coil used in the new Arizona Legislature hearing assistance system is showed. (KTAR Photo/Kat...
The T-coil used in the new Arizona Legislature hearing assistance system is showed. (KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)
(KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The legislative process is now more friendly for Arizona’s hard-of-hearing and deaf.

The state Legislature added a new loop system — technology that allows sound from microphones to be streamed directly to hearing aids or cochlear implants that have telecoils or “T-coils.”

Sherri Collins with the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing said hearing aids can often pick up too much background noise. The loop system is designed to eliminate that, which allows the hard-of-hearing to concentrate on what lawmakers and others are saying.

Lesli Sorensen, deputy chief of staff for the House of Representatives, said the excise-tax fund paid for the investment.

“This technology is incredible. You get [sound] crystal-clear in a way that we haven’t been able to have before,” she said.

Sorensen said a number of legislators’ desks have also been fitted with the technology.

“Members of the public will have access to this technology, as well as the individual legislators,” she said.

Arizona is the second state in the nation to install a loop system in its legislature. The first was Rhode Island.

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Arizona becomes second Legislature to install technology for hard-of-hearing