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Personal voice amplifiers keep conversations flowing

June 23rd, 2020

If you’ve ever tried to visit in a noisy setting you’ll know that conversation is only as good as the ability of participants to hear one another. For families and residents meeting during COVID visiting restrictions, meaningful conversation at 2-metres next to a busy street, or through a window, or even on a tablet can be a challenge. The recreation team at Points West Living Red Deer has come up with a solution that has changed the flow of conversations – for the better.

Hear more clearly

Even before COVID, the PWL Red Deer recreation team identified some residents’ need for help hearing conversations and information. So they purchased a portable voice amplifier headset/microphone and speaker and tried it out during a bingo game. “It was a huge success,” says Recreation Therapist, Delray Dempsey. “Residents loved that they could hear more clearly. It was much more fun.” 

Hearing through the noise

Enter COVID-19 and efforts to keep residents and families connected but separate. “Outdoor visits have been going great,” says Delray, “with the exception of one thing; road noise. We are located on a busy street in Red Deer where there is a lot of traffic going back and forth all day.”

“Our seniors may be challenged by hearing impairments and speech impairments,” she says. “Add to that background noise, road noise, and the need to wear masks, and the visits can be very tough for both residents and families.” 

Life-changing results

So, the recreation team put the personal amplifier set to a new use. “We implemented it into outdoor and window visits,” says Delray, “and it’s had life-changing consequences. Family members have had a great response; one even saying, ‘It’s the first time I’ve heard Mom’s voice since COVID started. Where can I buy one?’”

The person who needs to project his or her voice wears the headset/microphone, and even wearing a mask, their voice will come through loud and clear. Sometimes a family member or visitor wears the headset, other times it is the resident. The little amplified speaker faces the person who needs help hearing.

Three units in rotation

The community has purchased two additional units to keep up with demand, of course doing a thorough cleaning between each use. In case you’re interested, PWL Red Deer General Manager Tracy Elliott provided this link to the model they use.

Photo collage: Visitors use a personal voice amplifier to talk to their loved ones at PWL Red Deer. Top photo: Resident John Buit enjoys an outdoor visit with his daughter and son-in-law. Bottom photo: Resident Norma Allen visits through the window with her daughter Linda Dudah.

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