Seattle Repertory Theatre (155 Mercer St.) recently unveiled its induction hearing loops in both its Bagley Wright and Leo K. Theatres, as well as throughout the theater’s lobby. 

Hearing loops allow users to connect wirelessly to onstage microphones by pressing a button on their hearing aid or cochlear implant, activating a telecoil, a small copper coil found in most aids and implants. A loop is a copper wire installed throughout the theater’s seating area, creating a magnetic field that enables a telecoil to wirelessly transmit direct sound to the listener.

Induction loop technology is prevalent in theaters and opera houses throughout the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, but widespread use in the United States has only started in recent years. To date, Seattle Rep is one of only three institutions in the Greater Seattle area to install the user-friendly assistive listening system for those who are hard-of-hearing. 

The hearing loop was first put into use for the recent Rep production “Luna Gale.” Seattle Rep hosted a public unveiling of the hearing-loop system on April 24, prior to a captioned, preview performance of “Sherlock Holmes and The American Problem.” The hearing loop is available now at the Rep to anyone who would like to use it at any time.

The new hearing-loop systems at the Rep were installed by DRS Sound Inc. and HearingLoop NW and were funded by a 4Culture grant, individual donations and an online campaign through power2give presented by ArtsFund.