Avon resident William Allport has been coming to see his uncle at The Harbor Court in Rocky River twice a week for five years. Since the pandemic, he’s continued to visit, talking to him from the front porch of the building. While their visits haven’t changed, how they communicate has.

The men have been using the complex’s new audio system. The Eversound Sound System helps maintain social distancing and enables clear communication between visitors and residents.

“What we were finding was that there was a lot of difficulty hearing each other during visitations,” said Executive Director Cydney Bare. “I thought this would be a great way for that physical gap to be bridged.”

The sound system incorporates two receivers, four sets of headphones and two microphones. Residents can speak with their family and friends from up to 300 feet away and through walls. Each set’s battery lasts up to five hours. The ear pads and head bands are made out of antimicrobial material.

“I was skeptical about this at first,” Allport, 75, said. “Honestly, the sound is so clear, it’s like I’m sitting in a living room with my uncle as if nothing were going on.”

The Harbor Court is using 14 sets; however, the way they’re used varies. Four sets are for visitation and the other 10 will be used for socially distanced activities such as bingo or virtual tours provided by Eversound, Bare said.

Bare got the idea to introduce these devices last month after seeing an advertisement online. Knowing that communication between her residents and their loved ones was tough, she immediately got the ball rolling to get these devices for them.

About 750 senior living communities in the United States use the sound system, including Independence Village in Avon Lake, according to information provided by Eversound.

“We absolutely must find ways to help older communities keep in touch with their loved ones while also keeping them safe from COVID-19, we’re able to provide a solution to do both,” said Eversound’s Co-owner Jake Reisch during a phone interview. “We’re so fortunate in playing a role in keeping people connected during an event that nobody was prepared for and playing a small part in protecting those most vulnerable from the virus.”

Outdoor visitations resumed throughout the state July 20. While the organization is still working out how to use the device with some of its elderly residents, Bare is confident the technology is helping improve lives.

“I’m very positive about the feedback we’ve gotten so far,” she said. “It’s exciting to me that these people that have been cut off from the world are given the ability to communicate more effectively.”

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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