IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

New Jersey County Deploys Tech to Ease Public Participation

Burlington County, N.J., has installed new technology in several government building locations to support people who have hearing impairments and improve their ability to engage in public meetings and other parts of government.

A tangled black line becomes a white, untangled line in a spiral over a yellow background.
Burlington County, N.J., announced this week the installation of technologies to make meeting rooms and offices in government buildings more accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The enhancements aim to remove barriers that hinder public participation by those who are deaf or hard of hearing so they can have improved access to government services, programs, court proceedings and public meetings.

As government entities look to address accessibility shortcomings and take efforts beyond compliance, tech has been used as a tool to make government buildings more accessible to people who are blind in places like Colorado and Tampa, Fla.

“Public participation is vital to our democracy and our County is committed to ensuring our buildings, offices and meeting rooms are accessible to all residents,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson in the announcement.

Specifically, improvements include installing hearing loops, portable hearing hot spots as well as transmitters and receivers.

Hearing loops act by transmitting audio directly into telecoil-enabled hearing aids through magnetic fields, which amplifies sounds from an audio system and reduces background noises.

Transmitters and receiver systems use low-power radio frequencies to transmit sounds to receivers.

The improvements have been installed in the Burlington County administration and courts facilities at 49 and 50 Rancocas Road in Mount Holly, and at the Burlington County Human Services Building, the Health Department building and the Burlington County Library in Westampton.

“Without even needing to ask, [the county] provided these much-needed devices, which will greatly improve the ability of those who are hard of hearing to participate in the fundamental civic engagement of jury duty,” said Burlington County Assignment Judge Jeanne Covert in the announcement.

The purchase of hearing accessibility systems was made possible by a $75,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

The county has also contracted with Purple Communications to support services for interpreting and captioning. These services include Video Remote Interpreting, Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) Captioning and Scheduled Virtual Interpreting at some locations.