FAQ-Assistive Listening Systems

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Many people are not familiar with assistive listening systems. Below are some common questions.

Below are FAQ that pertain to all Assistive Listening Systems (FM, IR, and hearing loops). For additional FAQ, please see:


Today’s hearing aids enhance hearing in conversational settings. Yet for those with hearing loss, the sound becomes unclear when loudspeakers are distant when the context is noisy, or in rooms that reverberate sound.

Increasing the volume on the hearing aid, also increases the volume of reverberation and background noises.

You can read more and watch a video on our website The Need.

Individuals with hearing loss, those with other disabilities, such as autism, low vision, auditory processing disorders, ADHD, etc. find assistive listening systems invaluable.

It’s each person’s choice whether they wish to use an assistive listening system. Even a person with mild hearing loss can enjoy and benefit from an assistive listening system.

Try one. Instead of asking yourself if you can understand, ask if the assistive listening system is clearer, or takes less energy to listen.

Why not listen with less effort and understand more words?

Yes! All forms of assistive listening, including hearing loops, come with portable receivers and headphones. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you can borrow equipment, at no cost, from the site. Check the site’s website or inquire where you can find the equipment, which is commonly available at these locations: guest services, A/V, information desk, etc.

For room hearing loops, there are usually no concerns, as people are not in very close proximity to the floor where the hearing loop is installed (e.g., lying on the floor).

For counter hearing loops, it’s probably good to follow the hearing loop manufacturer guidance-see Zotero online library. From one manufacturer “Stand at least 20cm (about 8 inches) away from the counter loop.”

For neckloops used with FM and IR systems, ILHMA statement below.

Seek advice by talking with your doctor and pacemaker manufacturer for your individual needs.


Essential. Hearing aid microphones have a limited range (about 6-10 feet and less for people with severe or profound hearing loss).  But with a telecoil, hearing aids offers greater audibility when listening to speech with an assistive listening system. An assistive listening system increases the SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) by increasing the volume of the speech and decreasing unwanted background noise.

To learn more about telecoils and watch a short video, visit telecoils (this website)

Site Managers and Business Owners

While quality sound systems help, it isn’t enough for people with hearing loss. 

See why assistive listening systems are needed on our website The Need.

If the site is an assembly area with a public address system, an assistive listening system is required.  See the ADA for interpretation.