Area Hearing Loops

An Area or Large Area Loop is one used in commercial locations in which groups of people will gather for an event or activity and stay for an Extended Time.  Because of the size of the space and distance from the wall or ceiling mounted speakers, the sound quality deteriorates prior to arriving at the hearing instrument. Therefore, speech intelligibility is seriously compromised.

It is critical in these types of spaces to have access to Hearing Loops. There are many types of venues that fall under this category but below are a few very common ones.

Typical Areas of Extended Use

Theatres, Cinemas, And Performing Arts Facilities


Van Wezel Perfomring Arts Hall

High School and College Auditoriums and Classrooms


Breslin Arena at Michigan State

Houses of Worship - Sanctuaries, Fellowship Halls, and Worship Centers


Epiphany Cathedral (Venice)

Government Chambers and Libraries


Gainesville City Council

Sports Arenas and Stadiums


Breslin Arena at Michigan State

Airport Terminals


Sarasota Bradenton Airport

Other Areas:

5

Board Rooms

5

Meeting Rooms

5

Banquet Facilities

5

Funeral Homes

5

Sports Arenas

5

Cars

5

Buses

5

Coaches

5

Trams

5

Trains

5

Cruise Ships

Each venue has unique characteristics that require a custom design to ensure the Loop System performs correctly after the install is completed.  In order to engineer and design the system properly, a site visit is required. At that site visit, a test Loop will be used.

Testing

The test Loop involves laying wire down on the floor, sending some tones and noise through system, and taking output readings.  We test for electrical interference (EMI), signal strength and evenness, frequency response, and metal loss. 

Electrical interference manifests itself as a buzz or hum that can generally only be heard in a Loop Receiver or t-coil equipped hearing instrument.  It is not usually heard by the naked ear but on occasion it is possible.  Most EMI can be resolved by us working with an electrician and doing some basic troubleshooting. However, there are times where the issue is so great that the space is no longer a candidate for a Loop.  Many times, poor grounding or incorrect electrical wiring is the culprit.

Metal loss occurs when there is excessive metal used in the construction of floor or ceiling. This often occurs in the second story/floor and up, although it can occur on the ground floor as well.  Metal loss can cause a weak to no signal to occur, loss of high frequency sound, and uneven signal distribution throughout the room.

Design

Functional designs are achieved by utilizing the test results and incorporating basic and advanced fundamentals of Looping.  In engineering a design, it important that even signal distribution throughout the room is obtained.  This ensures that regardless of where a person sits from event to event, that the volume is relatively the same each time. Frequency response is critical for providing the clearest speech possible which ensures the users has the best chance possible at understanding what they are there to hear.  A relatively flat frequency response is of the highest priority.

There are some basic types of Loop designs ranging from basic, such as a Perimeter Loop to advanced, like a Phased Array.  It is preferable, where possible, to use the most advanced design possible.  The advanced design generally provides the most even signal distribution and frequency response.  It also helps to overcome metal loss and limits the distance the signal will travel outside of the Looped space.

Perimeter Loop
The most basic design is a “Perimeter Loop”.  As the name indicates, the wire is simply placed around the perimeter of the room.

Figure 8 Loop
The next level design is called a “Figure 8” or 2 Loop array. This design is also as the name would indicate, wherein the wire is layed out like an 8, albeit a rectangular 8.  It involves laying wire around the perimeter of the room as well as down the center, evenly dividing the room in half. 

Snowman Loop
The next level design is called a “Snowman” or 3 Loop array. This involves laying wire around the perimeter of the room and then dividing the room into three equal thirds.

Phased Array Loop
The most advance design is called a “Phased Array”.  This design involves installing wire around the perimeter of the room and then adding anywhere from three (3) to ten (10) or more wires across the width of the room.


Each of these designs have their advantages or disadvantages.  The site survey results will help to determine what option(s) is feasible or which is not.  The Complete Hearing Solutions representative can review the options at the completion of the site survey and provide a best practices recommendation.

Electrical interference manifests itself as a buzz or hum that can generally only be heard in a Loop Receiver or t-coil equipped hearing instrument.  It is not usually heard by the naked ear but on occasion it is possible.  Most EMI can be resolved by us working with an electrician and doing some basic troubleshooting. However, there are times where the issue is so great that the space is no longer a candidate for a Loop.  Many times, poor grounding or incorrect electrical wiring is the culprit.

Metal loss occurs when there is excessive metal used in the construction of floor or ceiling. This often occurs in the second story/floor and up, although it can occur on the ground floor as well.  Metal loss can cause a weak to no signal to occur, loss of high frequency sound, and uneven signal distribution throughout the room.

Installation

Staff

The installation is done by our Installation Crew and supervised by a Project Manager.  Each crew member has multiple years of Loop installation experience and a skill set that allows for the best possible outcome from the installation as far as aesthetics, properness, and completeness.  Our crew are all employed directly for Complete Hearing and are not *subcontractors.

Location Of Wire

Floor – the most common, for a few reasons.  Firstly, unlike a ceiling install, it can be tested prior to the installation.  In order to test a ceiling install, it must be installed in its entirety.  Secondly, the distance from the ceiling to the listeners ears is much greater than from the floor to the listeners ears.  Floor installs generally require significantly less amps of output in order to get the volume to the appropriate level than a ceiling install will require.

Ceiling – not as common as floor installs although there is a time and place for them.  Ceiling installs are used in locations in which it is not possible to place the wire on the floor.  The wire will be placed above the ceiling, whether it is drywall or acoustical/drop/suspended.

Note – The majority of the time, a ceiling install will be done using a Phased Array design.

Technique

On the slab installations can be done either during floor finish replacement, if it is an existing building, or just prior to floor finish installation, if new construction. 

If the wire will be installed in the slab, it can be done during the pouring process or, more commonly, anytime prior to the floor finish installation by saw cutting grooves. The grooves generally be approximately ¼” wide by ½” deep.

Wire Type

Flat copper foil wire is used when the floor finish is or will be carpet (glue down or squares), LVT/Vinyl tile planks, or hardwood flooring. It is a ribbon-style copper wire and is ideal for use under floor finishes as it reduces or eliminates the visibility of the wire. It is taped to the floor until the flooring is installed.  It should be installed either the day of or at the most, a day or two prior to the flooring to limit the exposure to other trades and reducing the likelihood of damage.

Round wire can be used in the ceiling or in direct burial situation. If in the ceiling, traditional THHN or Plenum rated wire will be used.  If saw cut into the slab, special direct burial wire with a XLPE coating will be used to prevent corrosion due to alkalis in the concrete. 

Note – if the flooring will be ceramic tile or exposed concrete, the wire MUST be placed in the slab.

As with all projects, Complete Hearing Solutions will visit the prospective venue and make recommendations on design, wire placement, and wire type.

Schedule a Complimentary Site Visit Today!

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