Upgrades part of ongoing ROC Renovation Project; Technologies include LED smart lighting in the gate area, terminal-wide hearing loops and counter loops
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo was today joined by representatives from Hearing Loop Systems (HLS) and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to unveil new enhanced communications technologies now available at the Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC). The technologies, which are components of Monroe County’s ongoing ROC Renovation Project, include “smart” color-coded LED lighting to promote visual cueing for all passengers in the gate area, in addition to terminal-wide hearing loops and counter loops installed at key locations to assist deaf or hard-of-hearing guests.
“As we worked to build a next-generation airport to help attract more visitors and more jobs to our community, we wanted to incorporate the latest communications technologies to maximize accessibility and inclusivity for all guests,” said Dinolfo. “From smart LED lighting that will help travelers navigate the gate area to new hearing and counter loops for hard-of-hearing guests, our airport promises to be one of the most traveler-friendly facilities of its kind in the nation. I am thrilled that our job-creating ROC Renovation project is now nearly complete and will be ready to welcome even more visitors, jobs, and investment to Monroe County this October.”
At the event, Dinolfo demonstrated the new “smart” color-coded LED lighting in the ROC gate area, which is designed to attract passenger attention to important messaging, such as boarding announcements or emergency notifications. The LED lighting will be synched with the Airport’s flight information control system and will change colors to subtly direct passengers to approach the gate for boarding, to remain in the seating area, or to direct their attention to announcements in the terminal, among other cues.
The new hearing loops, designed by Monroe County-based Hearing Loops Unlimited (HLU) and installed by Hearing Loop Systems (HLS), includes a specially-designed amplifier, which is connected to the terminal public address system and to a wire that is embedded in the floor. An electrical current is sent through the wire resulting in the generation of an electromagnetic field, which is received by a tele coil or t-coil feature, installed in a user’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. A passenger must enter the zoned area and switch to t-coil input on the hearing aid/cochlear implant to access the hearing loop signal.
“Hearing Loop Systems (HLS) is honored to be a part of such an important project to create accessibility for people with hearing loss at ROC.” said Pamela Pflueger, Sr. Business Development Consultant, Hearing Loop Systems. “This project at ROC is the most extensive installation HLS has completed compared to airports across the nation.”
In addition to the hearing loops, the airport also now features point of service units, or Counter Loops, consisting of a microphone at specific terminal counter locations throughout the airport. The Counter Loop captures the sound of the customer service agent speaking, amplifies it, and delivers a wireless signal to a passenger’s hearing aid via their t-coil. Counter Loops will be located at every ticketing counter, car rental counter and gate counter to assist passengers with hearing loss.
“As President of HLAA Rochester Chapter, we are pleased to hear we will have access to hearing loops at our newly renovated airport,” said Dan Brooks. “ROC has really set the bar high for other airports in our nation in terms of accessibility; especially for those with hearing loss.”
Hearing and Counter Loop locations throughout the terminal are posted with a sign featuring the universal symbol for hearing loops (a line drawing of an ear with the letter T in the bottom right hand corner) in areas where loops are active.
The ROC Airport has received two national awards as part of the ROC Renovation Project from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) for innovative technology to assist passengers.