Contacta unveils bespoke hearing loop system for Chester’s listed railway station

Contacta Systems, a hearing loop manufacturer, has unveiled a bespoke induction loop system at Chester station to make announcements more accessible to passengers with hearing loss.

The system features phased induction loops built into signage on the wall at two points – one in the waiting room and the other on the main concourse within easy view of the information screens. The signs instruct hearing-impaired passengers to stand within its transmission range, so they can clearly hear announcements over the station’s PA system by switching their hearing aid or cochlear implant receiver to the ‘T’ position.

The hearing loop system was built to custom specifications for the station’s managers, Arriva Trains Wales along with Integral UK, and is tailored to the unique features of the station.
Head of client development at Contacta, Dean Corrigan, said: “When we were asked to review hearing loop provision in the station we found that what was already in existence didn’t work and couldn’t be repaired or altered to offer passengers a good service.

“What we needed to do was come up with a design that was both effective and sympathetic to the station’s architecture. Chester station is a grade II listed building and underwent a £10 million renovation in 2007, so anything we installed needed to be done with minimal disruption. The station managers wanted a solution that worked well and this is what we delivered.”

Engineers at the Kent-based company came up with a phased loop positioned behind the signage. Their tests revealed that this design delivered a more even coverage of the inductive signal, thus improving the sound quality and intelligibility of announcements for passengers with hearing aids. Configuring the loops in this way also meant that cabling could be chased into brickwork or concealed in trunking rather than having to take up existing flooring. In addition, the signage was specially designed to give passengers clear instruction where to stand to get the best performance and clearest sound.

Contacta manufactures and installs a range of assistive solutions including hearing loops, speech transfer products, queue management systems and secure transfer units.

The company has also recently completed a bespoke design for speech transfer units at ticket offices at TFL bus stations in London. Developed to the specifications of installers, SIS Projects, the system has a microphone embedded in the window’s glass at head height, which is said to capture staff conversation more clearly for these noisy environments.

Head of new business development, Ran Meyrav, said: “Increasingly we are offering bespoke designs to meet the needs of clients and installers. Our aim is always to develop the simplest solution that offers the best possible listening experience and we hope in both these cases, that’s what we’ve achieved.”