Church uses WiFi-powered assistive listening technology to improve churchgoers’ experience

With 350–400 congregants, Boulevard Baptist Church is part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. About 60% of its members are 50 and older, and 30% are younger families. The tech-savvy church has a long history of live-streaming its worship services every week—even before COVID-19.

When the new pastor started at Boulevard Baptist Church, older members of the congregation began complaining that they couldn’t hear. Church officials turned up the sound system thinking that would solve the problem, but it didn’t. That’s because the pastor uses voice inflections when delivering his sermons, and the elderly congregants couldn’t hear the high and low pitches of his voice.

The church first investigated a Bluetooth system, but they’d have to buy a system for each person who used it—at least a $20,000 investment. A church member started looking into solutions on his own and found Listen EVERYWHERE, a solution for delivering clear audio via Wi-Fi. It delivers sound directly to users’ iOS and Android devices through a free app that features customizable text banners, welcome videos, channel labels, and more. According to Listen Technologies, the system is so affordable that the investigating member bought it himself and donated it to the church.

Congregants started using the system as soon as it was installed. At first, it was just a few people using the system, but they said they could hear everything the pastor said during his sermon. Church officials trained a few other congregants who had Bluetooth hearing aids on how to use the system. Word spread, and soon at least 30 people were using the system for hearing every Sunday.

According to the manufacturer, Listen EVERYWHERE:

  • Ensures everyone can hear the sermon
  • Requires a simple plug-and-play installation
  • Presents no lip-sync issues
  • Supports up to 16 channels
  • Uses the existing Wi-Fi network
  • Provides a fully customizable app experience with custom channel labels and links to events, the weekly program, hymnal, and more.

One Response to “Church uses WiFi-powered assistive listening technology to improve churchgoers’ experience”

  1. Systems like this fail to serve the needs of people with hearing loss and do not meet the ADA as they require users to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Hearing aids and cochlear implants are NOT directly compatible with any WiFi system – that means that the audio that is being broadcast via Wi-Fi must first go the smartphone (via an app) and from there, the audio is broadcast via proprietary wireless technology to the hearing aids. It is this last connection that introduces yet an additional delay which wreaks havoc with the already compromised speech understanding of people with hearing loss . There is no proof that WiFi systems works for the typical hard of hearing consumer.

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