New ‘loop’ system at Metro customer service office helps deaf or hard of hearing bus riders

Sonja from Metro Customer Service holds up a bus pass while communicating with Nate using the loop counter systemBus riders who are deaf or hard of hearing and use cochlear implants or hearing aids now can use a newly installed hearing ‘loop’ system at King County Metro’s Customer Service Office at 201 South Jackson Street in Seattle. The induction hearing loop system allows customers who use the system to better communicate with Metro employees when they are buying or reloading ORCA cards or getting other help to better ride Metro.

Window sticker says hearing loop service available at Metro Customer ServicesInstalling the induction hearing loop system demonstrates Metro’s continued commitment to accessibility for all of our customers. Loop systems help people better hear sounds at a distance and in environments where there is a lot of background noise. Most hearing aids work best in conversational settings, but are not as good for hearing sounds farther away. The telecoils that the hearing loop system employs act as a miniature loudspeaker to minimize background sounds and sounds in noisy environments.

Closeup image of the Loop counter system at Metro customer serviceGroups such as Let’s Loop Washington and the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center of Washington have been campaigning for the installation of hearing loop systems in more businesses and public spaces, and King County Metro is proud to join the growing number of buildings and businesses that have installed hearing loops.

Nate Higby signals to customer service staff that he can hear the staff person through the loop system.Nate Higby, a Metro customer who has hearing aids with telecoils, tried out the new hearing loop system, and was able to easily communicate with a Customer Service employee.

Most hearing aids or cochlear implant are telecoil-equipped, but need to have that option activated to use an induction hearing loop system. For customers whose hearing aids or cochlear implant is not telecoil-equipped, don’t worry: Metro Customer Service has headsets that customers can borrow upon request to use the hearing loop system.

We’re thrilled to have improved our accessibility for our customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, and we look forward to working with you in the Customer Service Office! For updates on information that affect accessibility of Metro’s service, please sign up for our Accessibility Alerts via text or email. Metro has many ways to receive feedback, so please visit Customer Services for details on how to contact us by phone, online form, email or TTY.

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