Hearing Over the Holidays: Religious Ceremonies

Hearing Over the Holidays: Religious Ceremonies

Hearing the pastor’s message is kind of important. After all, isn’t that why you attend church? Despite how essential hearing is to taking away the most you can from attending the church service, sometimes its harder to hear in church than in any other environment. Why is that? Well, there are a few different reasons:

1) Churches themselves are generally poor acoustic environments.

Typically, churches are large open buildings, with high ceilings and hard walls (made of stone, glass, wood, etc). Also, the peaked shape of a traditional church can cause changes in sound travel, causing very loud areas and very soft areas.

2) Church walls tend to lead to sound reflection

As sound travels, when it reaches a hard surface, it bounces off that hard surface in all different directions. This is called reverberation, and it causes the sound to “linger” and cause distortion as you hear the original sound but also the reflected sound.

3) The Congregation isn’t always quiet.

On top of the poor acoustic environment, having hundreds of people in an enclosed space inevitably leads to increased noise. Between people talking, coughing, or shuffling around, or the children crying and whispering, the overall noise level of the room is increased.

How Can You Hear Better at Church?

1) Preferential seating – sit near the speaker whenever possible, and away from noisy groups.

2) Assistive Listening Systems – many churches have a system in place to help you hear better called a loop system, which can work with hearing aids or with specific earphones for those without hearing aids. Inquire at your church if there is anything available to help the hearing impaired.

3) Directional Microphone Program: Hearing aids can be programmed to have a “front focus” program, whereby the hearing aid picks up more sound from in front of you than from behind. Your audiologist has to program this option, so call your audiologist to inquire how they can help.