Summer has arrived, and with it comes all the entertainment options that make it an active, exciting season for people of all ages. However, if you wear hearing aids, you might be more frustrated than entertained in certain venues because you still can’t hear or understand clearly. Fortunately, there are assistive listening devices than can help improve your listening experience in a wide variety of locations.
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are personal listening systems that optimize your ability to hear both natural sound and audio in environments where hearing aids alone aren’t enough. Many ALDs operate on inductive loop, FM, or infrared technologies and can be used to eliminate the effect of distance between a sound source and hearing aid wearer, reduce background noise that interferes with comprehension, or compensate for poor acoustics. ALDs can help people with varying degrees of hearing loss maximize their listening experience.
ALDs that run on loop systems can be used even if you don’t wear hearing aids, because you can borrow a receiver device from the venue to pick up the signals from your seat. ALDs send sound transmissions to either your hearing aids or the device (usually a headset or earpiece). If your hearing aids are equipped with a telecoil (t-coil), you can use them with no need for an additional receiver — just adjust your hearing aids to the “t” setting or program, and you’re ready to listen.
Other hearing aids allow for fitting of a direct audio input (DAI) “shoes” that enables you to pick up FM signal transmissions. FM systems are most commonly used in educational settings.
Where to find accessible venues
For those who struggle to find venues that support assistive listening, you’re not alone. While an increasing number of locations offer ALD-compatible experiences, it is often not advertised or made obvious upon arrival. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires all places that host public events to provide public accommodation for hearing loss, which increased the number of venues supporting the use of ALDs in their facilities, along with various other listening or captioning aids. These locations typically include:
- Movie theaters
- Concert halls
- Teller/ticketing windows
- Public exhibits
- Trains and subways
You can check the location’s website or give them a call to find out if they offer an assistive listening system compatible with your hearing aids. Always be aware of the various options for improving your listening experience in your upcoming plans and you’ll enjoy your summer, loud and clear.