Assistive Listening Devices, often referred to as ALDs, are technologies that assist the hearing impaired members of society who struggle to hear properly in busy or noisy environment, or in situations where there is a significant distance between themselves and the sound they wish to hear.
Assistive Listening Devices function by capturing a desired sound source and transmitting it directly to a hearing aid or receiver that in-turn delivers it directly to the user’s ear, without background noise, interference or distortion. The three main technologies utilised to perform this task are Audio Induction Loops, Infra-Red and R.F. (radio frequency).
In many countries around the world legislation has been put in place stating that ALDs are now legally required in any public place where it is important that a hearing impaired member of society is given the same opportunity to hear messages, speakers, or any other sound as clearly as anyone else. Examples of this legislation can be found in national building codes and anti-discrimination laws such the UK Equality 2010, Americans with Disabilities Act 2008 and Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act.
To ensure that Assistive Listening Devices function as they are intended to, providing a genuine benefit to the hearing impaired users, internationally governed Standards of operation have been created (such as IEC60118-4), which dictates induction loop operation).
These Standards not only ensure quality, but also actively discourage facility operators from installing low quality systems which do not function as intended in an attempt to comply with legislation whilst reducing costs.
The three main assistive listening technologies (audio induction loop, infra-red and R.F.) each have both positive and limiting factors which may or may not suit a specific application.
Ampetronic believe that induction loops provide the best all-round assistive listening solution. This opinion is shared by most knowledgeable installers and venue operators and has led to induction loops becoming the default solution in most countries.
A Comparison of Assistive listening Technologies
|Direct to hearing aid (no receivers)
|No user request/staff management
|Suitable for transient use
|Easy and cheap to install
|Overspill control possible
|User not required to bring own device (smart phone)
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