3 Assistive Listening Device Systems that Comply with ADA Regulations
ALD’s can benefit listeners in public spaces. Many halls, auditoriums, theaters, and conference rooms are subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For meetings and presentations in public spaces, ADA-compliant listening systems should be available on premises. Even public spaces which are exempt from ADA compliance can benefit from ADA compliant assistive listening devices through increased attendance and comprehension.
Having assistive listening devices on hand not only serves elderly and hard-of-hearing audience members, but also parents with babies or young children who may have to step outside for a few moments.
Such assistive listening devices can be used in conjunction with bilingual interpreters to extend your message to non-English speaking attendees.
AudioLink offers 3 major types of ADA compliant ALD systems for public spaces with both fixed and portable transmitters at a wide range of price points.
1. Infrared Systems for Low-interference Indoor Transmissions
The two most effective and least complicated types of assistive listening device systems – FM and infrared – each have strong and weak points. Infrared (IR) systems like Williams Sound’s WIR System transmit and receive signals through infrared light which is beamed from the transmitter to the receivers. Headsets are available with built-in receivers, or users who already use hearing aids can wear a small receiver that fits in a pocket.
Because IR ALD systems transmit using infrared wavelengths, there’s no danger of interference with other FM based systems, even if they’re being used in the next room. IR can work no matter how small or large your venue is, as long as you use sufficient and strategically placed transmitters.
IR assistive listening devices have the added advantage of privacy, since infrared signals can’t be intercepted in public spaces with the ease of FM transmissions. The advantages of using light to transmit sound are also the main disadvantages of using infrared assistive listening devices in public spaces. Bright sunlight and fluorescent bulbs can both interfere with IR assistive listening devices in public spaces. A loss of signal can also occur if the user isn’t within direct line of sight of the transmitter, or if the line is blocked by another person.
If you’re thinking about an IR system, It’s important to figure out if the area you’re working in can accommodate transmitters that will beam to the entire room without any “dead spots,” and if there will be any kinds of light interfering with the signal.
2. FM Systems Give Simplicity and Reliability
FM-based assistive listening device systems are the easiest to set up in your public space and, in general, the most reliable. In essence, you’re using a tiny FM radio station to “broadcast” to your audience. Depending on how powerful the transmitter is, the range varies from a few hundred feet, as with Nady’s ALD 800 RF system, to a few thousand feet on systems like Listen Tech’s LS-02-072.
FM transmitters can be fixed frequency, meaning they’re permanently set to one frequency or station, or have multiple frequencies to prevent interference from other systems. FM systems require little assembly and they’re generally the most reliable assistive hearing system around.
The FM system’s drawbacks are few, and minimally impact the performance of ADA compliant assistive listening devices in most public spaces.
When two FM systems are operating near each other, there’s a risk of interference and overlapping. But with field tunable transmitters like Williams Sound’s TGS PRO 738 system, which enables the speaker and listeners to switch frequencies on the go, this shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Tour Guide Systems for Groups on the Go
In museums, galleries, or other public places where a speaker wishes to reach an entire group of hearing impaired persons who may have different levels of hearing loss, clear communication becomes a challenge. Simply raising the voice will strain the speaker’s vocal chords, and can annoy other tourists.
Some assistive listening devices are ideally suited for tour groups. Tour guide systems enhance communications with large groups of listeners. Tour guide systems are designed for easy portability and multiple listeners. Some feature sturdy road cases that double as battery chargers for transmitters and receivers.
These systems are expandable simply by purchasing more receivers or more transmitters, so it’s easy to increase the size of the group. Many systems feature multiple channels, so several speakers can deliver separate audio content to different group members at the same time.
One example of this kind of ALD system is the Listen Tech LS-06-072, featuring a 150-foot broadcasting range that gives freedom of motion in public spaces of up to 60,000 square feet. Like other portable transmitter systems, content can come from either a guide or an audio source such as an mp3 or CD player.
You may have also heard or read about induction loop systems. We do not recommend them because they can be difficult and costly to install, the fidelity is generally poorer than FM or infrared, and they primarily benefit people who wear hearing aids with telecoil receivers – usually a small percentage of any group.
People with telecoil hearing aids can pick up the signal from both FM and infrared transmitters directly, without having to put anything else in or over their ears, by wearing a neckloop receiver, which picks up the signal and sends it directly to the hearing aid.
ALD ‘s comply with ADA regulations and enhance public spaces
In many public spaces such as museums, theaters, and concert halls, ADA compliance is mandatory. Assistive listening devices such as infrared, FM, and portable tour guide systems can improve the quality of presentations and events for a wide variety of audience members regardless of their level of hearing loss.
AudioLink offers multiple ADA compliant assistive listening device systems for public spaces with both fixed and portable transmitters to fit your needs and budget.
Call (1-800-263-0112) or email us if you have any questions about which ADA compliant assistive listening devices are right for your public space.