It might seem pointless to write a blog about something so mundane as getting new speakers and improving the loop system in a church, but here I am anyway!
It was during the lockdowns that I was forced to rethink how people with hearing difficulties were able to take part fully in meetings. I found that a large percentage of my time was spent accommodating those people, but I felt very strongly in my heart that having almost everyone included was not enough. If just one person was being sidelined, I couldn't accept that.
After finding solutions to these ministry communication problems, we were about to get back to normal by attending our meeting place again. However, it was at this time we made the decision to move premises.
The new place had speakers and a loop system. However, at least one member found it not quite good enough for him to hear what was going on. We tweaked everything we could. A former youth club member visited one day and, being a keen amateur, made some adjustments to the sound settings on the amplifier. It wasn't good enough, though.
The other day, we had an audio engineer in to fix things. It cost a few hundred pounds, but me helping out with wiring it up kept the price down (and I secretly enjoyed it). We now have two wall-mounted speakers which are smaller but better quality. The loop system has been upgraded too.
Readers who have any responsibility in this area might be interested to know that a loop receiver can be bought. This tunes into the loop signal in the same way as a heaid and has earphones or headphones plugged in. It means that, if someone who uses the loop forgets their hearing aid—which isn't uncommon—they can use this receiver instead.
For me, to make changes which deal with accessibility like this is vital. The knowledge that all are included is a great blessing to me and the brethren.