NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – City leaders say new upgrades to Norman City Hall will help those who suffer from hearing loss to be more engaged in public meetings.

Contractors recently began installing hearing loops in public meeting rooms at Norman City Hall.

“A hearing loop, sometimes called an audio induction loop, is a special type of sound system that may be
used by people with hearing aids,” said Jesse Hill, City of Norman ADA (American with Disabilities Act)
Technician for the City of Norman. “It allows the individual with a hearing disability to attend a meeting with
the same ease as any other attendee and not be identified as have a disability, by not having to wear a
headset or a device around the neck.”

A hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by a person’s hearing aid when it is turned to a certain setting.

The hearing loop consists of a microphone to pick up words and an amplifier, which processes the signal. It is then sent through the loop cable, which is a wire placed around the perimeter of an area that works as an antenna to the hearing aid.

“It has always been our goal to ensure anyone has the ability to attend a City Council or public meeting and understand what is being spoken. It is equally important that we make our community members feel valued by not identifying individuals with a hearing disability, but by simply appreciating them as active members of the community,” Hill said.

Also, officials say the podium at the Council Chambers will be made ADA-accessible as part of the ongoing renovations.

Other projects include an all-inclusive playground at Ruby Grant Park, ADA-accessible sidewalk installations across the community, and new amenities at Lions Park.

Renovations at the Municipal Complex are in Phase 1 of a multiple-phase project that will also consist of ADA improvements of restrooms, new carpet, painting and lighting, as well as new office-build out work for
several departments.