Listen Up!

By Shane Donglasan January 31, 2012

Hearing LoopThe 110,000 people with hearing loss in Manatee and Sarasota counties account for about 16 percent of the area’s population, the highest rate in the nation. As people lose their hearing, they become more isolated from the community, no longer able to enjoy shopping, the theater or dinner at a noisy restaurant.

For the last year, Edward Ogiba, president of the Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota, has been working to attract the hearing-impaired back to businesses and public venues through the hearing loop system. In use for 40 years in Europe, the hearing loop is the only system that sends clear sounds from a microphone directly into a hearing aid or cochlear implant without interference, as long as the hearing device has an activated T-coil. Few places in America have installed this system, and Ogiba is on a mission to make Sarasota a model for the new technology. So far, 26 venues have decided to set it up, and he’s optimistic that more will follow.

“Our big priority right now is education,” Ogiba says. “Doctors, audiologists and looped venues need to help us educate those who wear hearing aids about T-coils so they can take advantage of this technology.”

Coming to a theater near you…

The Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota recieved a Selby Foundation grant to install the hearing loop system in these 10 theaters: Sarasota Opera, The Players Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota Orchestra, Neel Performing Arts Center, Manatee Players, Westcoast Black Theatre, Venice Theatre and Venice Community Center.


Map with places containing the Loop Hearing System

USF Selby Auditorium

8350 N. Tamiami Trail

U.S. 41/Tamiami Trail


Selby Public Library

1331 First St.

Available in the Jack Geldbart Auditorium.


Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

777 N. Tamiami Trail

Available in the theater.


Caragiulos Restaurant

69 S. Palm Ave.

Ask for tabletop sound system.


Owen’s Fish Camp

516 Burns Lane

Ask for tabletop sound system.


Ear Research Foundation

1901 Floyd St.

Available in community education rooms.


The Hearing Spa

1058 N. Tamiami Trail, Suite 105

6024 14th St. W., Bradenton

Available in the waiting rooms.


Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services

1750 17th St., Building J-1

Available in three conference rooms.


North Sarasota Library

2801 Newtown Blvd.

Available in the large meeting room.


Unity Church of Sarasota

3023 Proctor Road

Available in the sanctuary.


Whole Foods Market

1451 First St.

Available at register No. 1.


First United Methodist Church

104 S. Pineapple Ave.

Available in the sanctuary.


Senior Friendship Center

1900 Brother Geenen Way

Available in the Friendship Cafe


Alderman Oaks Retirement Home

727 Hudson Ave.

Available in the conference room and in the Treetop Lounge Community Room entertainment system. Portable systems are available to residents for smaller group activities.


Venice Presbyterian Church

111 Firenze Ave. E.

Available in the sanctuary and as a portable.

Filed under
Show Comments