Plant Tours

Portable FM system. Photo Credit: Plant Tours

nce table with microphones

Conference room tables with microphones for each person. Photo Credit: Cyril Bosselut

FM portable system, with a base antenna, receiver, and earbuds
Portable FM system with base, receiver, and ear buds
Auditorium with permanently installed hearing loop
Library service desk with counter hearing loop

Library service desk with counter hearing loop

Portable counter hearing loop with microphone

Workplaces are complicated!  There are employees, managers, maintenance staff, secretarial staff, technology staff and often, the public, who come in to interact with all of the above. There are meetings and telephone calls. Almost all areas have the challenges of background noises, distance from the sound source, and poor acoustics. Workplaces create multiple opportunities for the hard of hearing to struggle personally and professionally. With informed management, procedures to support the employee, and strong personal advocacy, each environment in a workplace can be outfitted to address the needs of those who do not hear well.

Possible Assistive Listening System Locations

There are several places, where an employee with hearing loss might use an assistive listening system. Below are some general ideas to adapt for your specific situation and need. All require a microphone for input.

  • Auditoriums, conference rooms, and small meeting rooms: A permanently installed hearing loop, FM system, or IR system. Hearing loops are the easiest for individuals with hearing loss to use – an individual just switches their hearing aids to telecoil program, no equipment needed.
  • Small meeting room: Portable hearing loop or portable FM system.
  • Service Counters: Two-way counter hearing loop.
  • Portable team discussions (construction, food preparation, etc.): two-way portable/tour guide FM system.

Steps for Assistive Listening Systems Accommodations

  1. Employee learns the basics of how assistive listening systems work and the importance of the microphone accurately capturing the sound.
  2. Employee asks for an assistive listening system as an ADA accommodation, using the business procedures.  Usually this is through the HR department.  Even the most knowledgeable advocate can become timid and fearful in work situations. With their livelihood and status at risk, folks are often reluctant to speak up. While this isn’t true for everyone, most people seem to want to hear without drawing undue attention to themselves. Getting people to understand that full disclosure and carefully articulating what you need can result in a much better situation at work.
  3. The HR department often asks the facility manager/director. The facility staff member, new construction project manager or architect may request hearing loop bids. Templates and best practices available for hearing loops.