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Stay in the Loop: Adding Assistive Listening to Your Summer Plans

07/02/2015

As the peak of summer approaches, you will encounter a wave of food, friends, and fun. Balmy evenings and an endless menu of family entertainment options make the perfect cocktail for an active, exciting season for people of all ages. But setting aside time to spend with your loved ones shouldn’t mean adding hearing loss frustration into your daily itinerary. A booming concert, a chilling blockbuster flick, a child’s laugh—life simply brings too many wonderful moments for you to let hearing loss interrupt your experiences. Here is how assistive listening options can keep you connected to all the precious sounds of summer.

What are assistive listening devices?

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are personal listening systems that optimize your ability to hear both natural sound and audio in a variety of noise environments. There are many reasons for why people may require the use of ALDs, which operate on inductive loop, FM, or infrared technologies. Whether to eliminate the effect of distance between the sound source and user, reduce the interference of background noise, or compensate for poor acoustics, ALDs can help people with varying degrees of hearing loss maximize their hearing experience.

ALDs that run on loop systems are worn by hearing aid users and non-users alike, as they receive sound transmissions delivered almost instantaneously via an electromagnetic field. This serves as a great example of how multifunctional and “smart” today’s hearing aids have become. While non-hearing aid users may choose to wear a headset or earpiece, wearers whose hearing aids are equipped with a telecoil (t-coil) can depend on their personal hearing aids with no need for an additional receiver. Hearing aids can also accommodate FM systems through a Direct Audi Input (DAI) plug, which connects to body-worn accessories that receive audio.

Assistive listening services are everywhere

For those who struggle to find venues that support assistive listening with your hearing aid, you’re not alone. While many major stadiums, concert halls, movie theaters, and even transit services offer ALD-compatible experiences, it is often not advertised or outwardly noticeable upon arrival. Luckily, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires all places that host public events to provide public accommodation for hearing loss, which means many venues currently support the use of ALDs in their facilities, along with various other listening or captioning aids. These places may include:

The key is to check ahead of time, via website or direct contact, if your venue offers the assistive listening system compatible with your hearing aids. Always be aware of the various options for ALDs in your upcoming plans and enjoy your summer—loud and clear!

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