When you hear that question, what do you think of? I can think of at least two things.
First, “Come again?” makes me think of someone who didn’t quite hear what you said and needs you to repeat it. While I don’t often use the expression myself, there are moments when I need to ask someone to repeat themselves—and it’s not always because there is a lot of background noise!
For many people who have some degree of hearing loss, “Come again?” might feel like something they have to say all the time. Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. And the World Health Organization says that more than 5% of the world’s population—or 430 million people—require some sort of rehabilitation to address their hearing loss.
In addition, those who experience hearing loss are often an unknown and under-served group. One misunderstood aspect of hearing loss is that while hearing aids are great, they do not work in every situation. Hearing aids work great in a quiet environment, but in places with a lot of ambient noise, a hearing assistance system is needed to block out unwanted sound and deliver sound directly to people’s ears. People with hearing loss need more signal than noise—it’s not helpful if the sound is simply louder.
If any of this describes you, we want to do more to help you have a better experience when you come to in-person worship services. It’s technology that will allow you to hear the audio in our worship services by using your smartphone and downloading an app called Listen Everywhere. This app will work while you are on our campus (it does not work when you’re worshipping online), and allows you to connect via Bluetooth to your hearing aids, Bluetooth ear buds, or headphones.
We’ll launch this tomorrow. In your Sunday Guide you’ll find links to download the app to your phone (it works with Apple or Android devices). It’s best to wait to download it until you’re in the building. And we’ll have folks at the wood wall ready to help you if you get stuck. It might take a few weeks to work the bugs out, so you can consider yourself our beta test volunteer! I hope it helps!
“Come again?” also makes me think of one other thing, which I mentioned in my sermon last Sunday and my blog a couple of weeks ago: my sincere desire for you to come to in-person worship again. Remember I mentioned that the Evil one wants to isolate us rather than bring us together in community? He convinced us that being together would kill us instead of giving us life.
Now that restrictions have eased and the world is starting to awaken from a COVID hibernation of fear, there is no reason we should not return to in-person worship together, except for those of us who are the most immuno-compromised. I meant what I said: we cannot love one another, welcome one another, or serve one another if we hide from one another. So please…come again! I can’t wait to welcome you back.
Rev. Mark Toone
Senior Pastor, Chapel Hill Church