by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
For a number of years I maintained a web page listing the various facilities of which I was aware in the USA that used hearing loop systems. As the number of looped facilities snowballed, it became harder and harder to keep this list up to date.
Now, with the advent of the LoopFinder website and LoopFinder iPhone app, my web page listing is no longer needed and recently I took it down.
The LoopFinder website at http://www.loopfinder.com is the on-line version of the information available in the LoopFinder app for the iPhone. (Sorry, there is no corresponding app for Android phones at this time.)
This free app is put out by Otojoy LLC and works with iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch. Version 1.0 was just put up June 4, 2015 so it is still brand new.
The LoopFinder app is awesome. With it, you can find the closest looped facility to you no matter where you are in the USA.
You can search for looped facilities by all categories, or by one or any combination of the 17 categories of looped venues. These 17 looped venue categories include houses of worship, museums, universities, health care facilities, hearing professionals, movie theaters, live theaters, libraries, sports facilities, senior’s facilities, government buildings, community venues, educational facilities, transportation, retail stores, pharmacy counters and funeral homes.
The filter capability is quite comprehensive and useful. For example, you can sort the facilities you are interested by distance. The results then not only list the facilities from closest to farthest away, but also give you the exact distance they are from you.
You can set the distance filter for any distance between 1 mile and 100 miles from your current location, or you can turn the mileage filter off and have all selected facilities listed, no matter how far away they are.
You can instantly switch between map view and facility listing. In map view, you get a map showing all the looped facilities in the categories you have selected that are within the distance you have selected. Then you can use your fingers and expand (or contract) the map view to see exactly where the facility is.
In the facility listing view, you get a listing of each facility arranged by distance from you giving the following information: picture of the facility (if available–and at this time few pictures are available so if no picture is available, a generic “boilerplate” picture for that category is substituted), the name of the facility, the category of the venue, its distance from you, and its address.
When you find a facility you want to check out, just tap that picture and a pop-up box gives the address (again) and the contact phone number, email address and website URL.
There is a “Check-In” button, which if pressed says “Checked-In” and retains this information. But exactly how it is used is not explained, nor can you undo it once pressed.
Before you can use this, app you need to sign in. It asks for your first name, last name, email address, zip code, gender, age group, degree of hearing loss and whether you are a hearing aid user or not. Then you choose a password and agree to their terms and conditions and that’s it, you’re in.
After you have signed in the first time, this app remembers you so you don’t have to sign in again.
There are a number of other features, either working now, or in the works, that you can explore at your leisure such as notification settings, add a new looped facility or request a facility be looped, your check-in history, etc.
All in all, this is a most useful app for those of us who use our t-coils to help us hear better. When you get this app, check out the looped facilities in your area. If you know of any in your area (or elsewhere) that are not listed, press the “Add/Request Loop” button and submit the new information for this facility right from your iPhone or computer.
Since no one person can keep up with the burgeoning number of looped venues in the USA, each user needs to take responsibility to add in any venues in their area of which they are aware that are not already listed. As we do this, the LoopFinder app will become more and more useful as time goes by.
To get this cool app, go to Apple’s iTunes Store and search for “LoopFinder”.