An Omaha parish is making it easier for the hearing impaired to hear the daily services.
An almost year-long construction at St. Pius X is complete and Channel 6 News checked in Sunday to see if parishioners can hear the difference.
Jerry Ewald has been attending the parish for more than 50 years. During much of that time, he's struggled with being able to hear. “Today for the first time when they talk it's right here in my ear. Just like someone's standing right behind me talking in the back of my ear and it’s really fantastic.”
St. Pius finished renovations in June and added a magnetic wire below the church floors to help the hearing impaired. Cindy Johnson, an audiologist, explained the technology to the parishioners. “If you have hearing aids with something called a telecoil as soon as you walk into the inside of this loop you are connected to the sound system. It’s like having a speaker right at your ear.”
The "loops" have changed the worshiping experience, helping Ewald and others like him hear much clearer.
Mary Dyer has been wearing a coclear implant after became deaf four years ago. Even with the hearing aid, Dyer is still unable to hear in most public situations. Until Sunday Mass, where she said the parish has given her hearing an extra boost.
“It is absolutely wonderful. I could actually hear virtually all the spoken words. I still can't hear the music very well, but I can't tell you how it feels to be left out and to be able to come back and worship in community as a full participant.”
The addition is helping give the hearing impaired a more meaningful experience, one the church hopes will attract new people.
If you're curious as to whether your hearing aid will work in the building, check with your doctor. Anyone with a telecoil in their aid should be able to experience the new system.