Performing arts centers around the world—like the brand-new Hale Centre Theatre in Utah—turn to induction loop technology for assistive listening systems. But that’s probably not the right fit for a courtroom. And what works in a classroom might not work in a movie theater. What other assistive listening options are available that will fit your venue?
Technology for assistive listening isn’t one-type-fits-all. So, you need to consider all types of technology to find the right fit. There’s infrared, radio frequency, hearing loops, and Wi-Fi, along with their associated products. Here’s what you need to know about all of them:
In this type of system, infrared light waves—like the technology in many TV remotes—transmit sound to an IR receiver and headphones. The system floods a room with infrared light using IR radiators. Users don’t need hearing aids. They get sound via a receiver and headphones or earpiece. So, it’s an excellent solution for classrooms, courtrooms, and corporate boardrooms. And it’s ideal for anywhere a private audio signal is necessary. That’s because the signal can’t pass through walls or be received outside a specific area. This system is relatively low-cost and can deliver multiple audio sources. One of the drawbacks of IR, though, is that it is traditionally dependent on line of sight in order to receive the light signal.
Listen Technologies offers ListenIR, which delivers higher-quality audio, with twice the power and coverage of other receivers. Listen’s receivers are IR transparent, allowing them to receive light waves from all angles, greatly reducing signal drop out. The system, which can have six simultaneous channels, is streamlined for better management with simple and smarter maintenance solutions. The receivers are easier to store, wear, and use because they’re half the size and weight of other listening devices. Our innovative battery technology saves money as well as the hassle of battery management and disposal. Plus, the integrated neck loop/lanyard delivers better audio to users with cochlear implants and telecoil hearing aids. If you’re looking for a private, lower cost, easy-to-use assistive listening solution, check into the ListenIR system.
If you’ve listened to a radio or used a walkie-talkie, then you’re familiar with radio frequency. In an assistive listening system, sound is transmitted via radio frequency to a receiver and headphones. It also may deliver the sound directly to a receiver connected to a cochlear implant or telecoil hearing aid. Like the IR system, users don’t need hearing aids. This system can be used in small or large spaces, but it isn’t ideal in situations where privacy is necessary because the signal isn’t contained like an IR system. People often use this low-cost system in classrooms, public meeting spaces, churches, conference rooms, and nursing homes.
If you’re looking for a superior RF assistive listening product, Listen Technologies offers two options, with a maximum of 32 simultaneous channels. The 72 MHz system has a range of up to 1,000 feet, and is ideal for churches, performing arts centers, theaters, and more. We also have a 216 MHz system, with high-quality transmitters and receivers. The 216 MHz system is ideal for places where a larger RF signal is necessary, like at convention centers and stadiums. An RF system is perfect for everywhere from classrooms to concert halls. With an RF system from Listen Technologies, you’ll have a low-cost and high-quality assistive listening product.
Many users consider the hearing loop the best option for assistive listening systems. Using an electromagnetic field, it sends sound to people with telecoil technology in their hearing aid or cochlear implant. When a person with a T-coil hearing aid or cochlear implant walks into a venue with a hearing loop, they set their T switch to on and instantly have audio streaming directly to their ears. Optionally, a hearing loop can also send the signal to a receiver connected to headphones or an earpiece, so people without hearing aids can use them. The drawback of this system is that it requires installation, so they’re usually more costly than IR and RF systems. That’s because a hearing loop requires the venue operator to install wire or flat copper tape loop on the floor of the entire venue. Also, like an RF signal, this system is not secure.
Listen Technology’s ListenLOOP is the leader in hearing loop technology. We help people with hearing loss have a superior listening experience without distracting background noise that can lessen hearing clarity. One of our latest installations was at the Hale Centre Theatre in Utah.
“The hearing loop is giving so many of our patrons an experience they have never before had,” said Quinn Dietlein, Hale Centre Theatre’s development director and annual giving manager.
A hearing loop is the most convenient assistive listening system for users. It delivers high-quality audio, and even people without hearing aids can use it.
The latest in assistive listening technology is Wi-Fi. It’s precisely the same system as you use for your phone, laptop and tablets at home and just about everywhere else. A Wi-Fi system uses radio waves to send information across a network. With a Wi-Fi signal, any smartphone or tablet can turn into an assistive listening product.
Listen Technologies always is looking for the best and latest tech for assistive listening. Now with Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies, end users get best-in-class assistive listening and best-in-class Wi-Fi audio streaming. Users just need to connect to the Wi-Fi network, download the free app for iOS or Android devices and select a channel. Then the system will connect directly to Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids through the Wi-Fi-enabled device. It’s great for everywhere from churches to bars, universities to corporate centers.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans own a smartphone, and about 50 percent own a tablet computer, so it makes sense to turn to Wi-Fi for the latest in assistive listening options.
With several types of assistive listening technologies, there is a right fit for everyone, everywhere. So, when you’re deciding on a system, consider the venue and whether IR, RF, loop, or Wi-Fi is best for the situation.