Re: Deaf members
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2021 11:52:40 -0700 (PDT)
There are other sound systems that do not involve using a microphone.  There 
are systems that are built into the walls.  A user simply has a receiver that 
transmits to their ear or hearing aid.  There are mobile systems where the user 
has both a transmitter and a receiver.  The user can leave the transmitter on a 
lectern or it can travel to each speaker — but unlike a microphone no wires to 
trip over. (There are wireless mics which is much easier to use than something 
wired.)  The mobile transmitter is usually very small — about the size of a 
fountain pen.  (Remember those?) It can easily pass from person to person.

Don’t give up looking for technical solutions!  We are all getting older …

Best —

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Ex. Dir. & Mbr. Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA
midatlantic [at]

When Isaac Newton stayed home to avoid the 1665 plague, he discovered the Laws 
of Gravity, Optics, and he invented Calculus

NOTE:  I’m switching back to using zabaldo [at]  Many apologies!

> On Apr 25, 2021, at 1:56 PM, Hafidha Sofia <hafidhaao [at]> wrote:
> The year before the pandemic, our community was gifted such a sound system, 
> and it was not utilized well or consistently. It took months to get it set up 
> (it requires A/V knowledge or professional installation), and then there were 
> frequent technical issues afterward. And the other issue was that most people 
> didn’t want to use a microphone during meetings. The classic, “Oh I don’t 
> need that, I have a loud voice.” 
> There was a real tendency for people to view using the microphone as a 
> personal decision instead of as a thing needed to make the space accessible 
> for everyone.  
> My suggestion is that communities understand that simply having the tech 
> isn’t enough. It would help to have clear guidelines around using the 
> microphone. Moving forward (post pandemic) I am going to advise my community 
> to make mic use mandatory at monthly house meetings. And during weekly 
> announcements. Both of these are held in the space where we have this audio 
> system set up. It also requires some training to get a lot of folks 
> comfortable with operating the system. Inaccessibility is by design, so there 
> has to be clear intention and commitment to change our spaces in order to 
> make accessibility a reality. 
> Hafidha
> Songaia Cohousing
> Washington State, USA
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Apr 25, 2021, at 10:28 AM, MJ Phillips <mjphillips [at]> wrote:
>> fwiw, I just listened to a talk on hearing loss given by our town’s council 
>> on aging. The speaker mentioned hearing aids that can be tuned to the 
>> television to make hearing that clearer. I wonder if there is similar 
>> technology that could be adapted to/for meetings- ie, if the speaker were to 
>> use a microphone that was somehow linked to the hearing aids? (and if the 
>> mic were to be passed around to make it really clear who was speaking and 
>> make sure all comments go into the mic)?
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