The device is simply small radio receiver which the wearer hangs from a lanyard round their neck. It has a means of selecting one of many radio channels, a volume control and a socket for the earpiece. Each morning our guide, who was equipped with a similar transmitter device and microphone, would tell us which channel he was using and make sure everyone was tuned in before setting off on the tour. As a result he was able to speak at normal volume but we could all hear him, even if we was some distance away.
But it wasn’t just the ability to hear from a distance that was attractive. Those a little hard of hearing didn’t miss a word of the information given. It’s also handy if you want to stop and take photos, examine something in more detail or even linger to peer in shop windows. You can detach yourself from the group yet still hear everything being said. Over the week this flexibility became more and more useful.
Another benefit was, as the name implies, the ability for the guide not to have to raise their voice. This became very apparent in the several cathedrals we visited. Even though there were a number of other groups in the building, each guide was able to talk very quietly. Not only did they not disturb the other groups but, more importantly, did not disturb worshipers either.
Like so many good ideas, it seems like an obvious use of technology and it certainly added greatly to our enjoyment of all the tours we went on.