One out of 10 people in the U.S. is hearing impaired. For people over 60, that number is a staggering 30 percent. And even with a conventional hearing aid, the sound quality at theatrical performances may simply not be good enough for everyone to thoroughly enjoy the show.
The Waterfront Playhouse is proud to have found a solution with the successful installation of a state-of-the-art “hearing loop system” (technically called an Audio Frequency Induction Loop).
Sound from the stage is transmitted directly to an individual’s telecoil-enabled hearing aid or cochlear implant, delivering personalized in-the-ear sound. For most people, there will be no need for any additional equipment making the system instantly functional and completely inconspicuous. For the few people (less than 30% of hearing aid users) whose system is incompatible or who do not use a hearing aid, the Waterfront Playhouse will provide portable transmitters completely free of charge.
“Hearing loss is the most prevalent medical condition in Key West,” according to Waterfront Playhouse Board President, Christopher Elwell. “We are thrilled to make theater more accessible to everyone who lives in Key West or comes here for a visit.”
The Waterfront Playhouse is the first performance space in Key West to install a hearing loop system, and the first theater in southern Florida. According to Bunnie Smith (Treasurer for the Waterfront Playhouse and the person who spearheaded the effort for the theater), “With the help of Judith and Stanley Zabar, who provided funding for this exciting new system and additional monies from the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, we are proud to say that we are now fully ADA compliant.”
Jack Paul, Vice President of Development for the Waterfront Playhouse, was one of the people who tested the new system calling it, “the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard in a theater. This is going to open a whole new world for hearing-impaired theater lovers.”
The new hearing loop system will be available to all Waterfront Playhouse patrons for the full 2012-13 season – and many, many seasons to come.
About the Waterfront Playhouse
Named “The Best Professional Theater in Florida” (Florida Monthly Magazine, 2010 & 2011), The Waterfront Playhouse is a not-for-profit, professional theater located on historic Mallory Square in Old Town Key West that attracts locals and tourists alike with a wide range of comedies, dramas, musicals, concerts, and world premieres.
The Playhouse utilizes Key West’s rich talent pool of actors, directors and designers, as well as attracting internationally known luminaries including Kelly McGillis, Donna McKechnie, Charles Busch, Terrence McNally, Israel Horowitz and Carl Hiaasen.
Recent hit productions at the Playhouse include August: Osage County, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Glengarry Glen Ross, Lend Me a Tenor, Doubt, Twelve Angry Men, The Full Monty, Reefer Madness, Urinetown, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Equus and the world premieres of Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You and Hy Conrad’s Home Exchange.
For more information, please visit www.WaterfrontPlayhouse.org