ListenTALK in Action

Last year, ListenTALK hit the shelves with a bang. One of ListenTALK’s first customers was Hale Center Theatre in Sandy, Utah. Here’s how it works, where Hale Center Theatre is using it and why they love it:

How ListenTALK works

This on-the-go two-way communication system was built with flexibility in mind. Each device is a transceiver—which means it both transmits and receives audio communication. Creating a group of transceivers is simple! With the tap of a button, ListenTALK devices can be paired on the fly and multiple groups can be created in a matter of seconds. While on a tour, all you have to do is press the Talk button if you want to…talk! If you’re a tour leader, the only reason you’ll need to press the Talk button is to mute yourself. Pretty easy, right?

With a simple setup, you get an innovative communication solution that ensures everyone can come on your adventure with you.


In action at Hale Center Theater

Backstage tours are nothing new at Hale Center Theatre, but you haven’t seen them like this before. Last year, Hale Center Theatre built a brand-new, state-of-the-art venue. This beautiful building is unlike anything else in the Salt Lake Valley, and officials needed a communication system that matched the impressive structure. Quinn Dietlein, Hale Center Theatre’s development director and annual giving manager, obtained ListenTALK specifically for backstage tours but has incorporated “all sorts of fun multimedia uses,” thanks to its versatility. Hundreds of people are going on these tours every week, and hundreds of people are walking away impressed with the new theater…and ListenTALK!


Why tour guides and participants LOVE it

Not only is Quinn a director, but he’s also a performer. Each tour he takes through the theater has a different flare. Upon meeting his tour group, he learns about participant’s interests and uses that information to tell a personalized story for each group as he takes them through the theater. His tours are as entertaining as the plays he acts in, but one thing is for sure: Quinn is talking all day long. The first time Quinn used ListenTALK for a tour, his excitement was palpable. No longer was he raising his voice, walking backward, or trying to reach every guest. With ListenTALK, guests are participating more, asking more questions, and staying engaged. Now, Quinn speaks normally, and his participants are able to catch the nuances of his personalized tours.

Hale Center Theatre discovered it last year: ListenTALK creates an environment of inclusion and is the perfect tour solution. It’s easy to use for every kind of tour and everyone who uses it loves it.


Are you ready to try ListenTALK? Call (888) 296-1623 or go to to get started with your free demo kit today.

Experience More with Assistive Listening Systems

When Hale Centre Theatre was planning its brand-new building in Sandy, Utah, leaders knew they wanted the space to be as inclusive as possible with the best assistive listening system available. That meant installing a state-of-the-art hearing loop in the theatre.


“We feel like theater, really well done, offers a much-needed escape in an ever-busier world,” said Quinn Dietlein, Hale Centre Theatre’s development director, and annual giving manager. “We also feel that this opportunity should be available to as many people as possible. The hearing loop is giving so many of our patrons an experience they’ve never had before. We have had close friends with hearing loss literally in tears after enjoying a show and being included like never before.”


More Americans experience hearing loss than you might think. Hearing loss makes it difficult for people to fully experience something like a play at the Hale Centre Theatre, but assistive listening systems can help. So what are assistive listening systems, who needs them, and are they required?


What does assistive listening mean?

Assistive Listening Systems, also known as assistive listening devices, take sound from a source and transmit it to a receiver that delivers the sound to a user’s ear. The systems use one of several types of technology:

  • Infrared: IR is a great solution for classrooms, corporate boardrooms and courtrooms – basically anywhere a private audio signal is necessary. It uses infrared light to send audio to an IR receiver and earphones. No one can receive the signal outside of a specific area and it won’t pass through walls.
  • Radio Frequency: An RF signal doesn’t require line of sight, as IR does. Audio is transmitted via a radio frequency to a receiver and earphones.
  • Loop: Many people consider the loop to be the best all-around solution for assistive listening systems. Loop systems use an electromagnetic field to send sound to anyone with telecoil technology in their hearing aids or cochlear implants. Venues can also choose to transmit the signal to a receiver and earphones.
  • Wi-Fi: Systems like Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies provide audio streaming solutions for churches, universities, bars and more. Wireless audio is available via a free downloadable app, enabling guests to use their own iOS and Android devices for assistive listening.

Assistive listening systems use a variety of technologies to deliver sound to hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other receivers.


Who needs assistive listening systems?

Approximately 48 million Americans, or 20 percent of the country’s population, have some degree of hearing loss. About 15 percent of school-aged children experience hearing loss and by age 65, one in three Americans has some hearing impairment. The degree of hearing loss within this group varies from minor to profound. But having an assistive listening system available will help them listen more clearly and understand more of what they hear.


Who must have an assistive listening system?

Luckily for Americans with hearing loss, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides some relief. The ADA requires that public spaces offer an assistive listening system unless the requirement is an undue burden. Theaters, courtrooms, lecture halls, legislative chambers, stadiums, and convention centers are some places that are required to have an assistive listening system by law. Public assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the space must be compatible with t-coil hearing aids, and the number of receivers required is based on the seating capacity of the space.


Hearing loss is a common condition in the United States. Assistive listening systems help people hear, ensuring that millions of people aren’t left out of essential experiences in public spaces and some workplaces.

Make a trip to the ENT one of your New Year’s resolutions

Health-related New Year’s resolutions are always among the most popular — people resolve to lose weight, exercise more, cut unhealthy foods from their diets or add more healthy food, and take better care of themselves. But not many people resolve to make a hearing checkup with their ENT.

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions in the U.S, with 20 percent of all Americans experiencing some level of impairment and even higher percentages over age 65. But not many people take the time to see a hearing specialist. So what’s an ENT, when do you need to see one, and what happens next?

What’s an ENT?

An ENT physician is an otolaryngologist or a doctor who treats people with disorders and diseases affecting their ears, sinuses, nose, throat, larynx, mouth, neck and face. For the ear, these doctors are trained to treat a variety of problems via surgical and medical treatments. So if you are experiencing a problem with your ears or hearing, your primary care physician will likely recommend that you visit an otolaryngologist, aka an ENT doctor.

When to see an ENT

Hearing loss is a significant public health issue, with about 48 million Americans having some level of hearing difficulty. So if you’re experiencing trouble with your ears, it’s time for a hearing check-up. Some of the reasons to visit an ENT specialist include pain in your ears, balance issues, hearing loss, and tinnitus, or ringing in your ears. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
● Do you have to strain to hear what people are saying?
● Is it hard for you to hear when there’s background noise?
● Do you need to turn up the volume on your TV or radio?
● When people talk to you, does it sound like they’re mumbling?
● Do you regularly ask people to repeat themselves?

If you’re experiencing any ear or hearing problems, schedule an appointment with an ENT physician.

All hearing loss isn’t the same and may be caused by different factors. That’s why it’s important to understand the origin of hearing loss and the different types of hearing impairment. The three types of hearing loss are:

Conductive: In people with conductive hearing loss, sound can’t get through the outer and middle ear. It’s hard to hear soft sounds and loud noises sound muffled. An ear infection, fluid in the middle ear from a cold or allergy, a hole in the eardrum, ear wax, an object stuck in the ear, tumors, and outer or middle ear formation are some of the causes of conductive hearing loss.
Sensorineural: This type of hearing loss happens when the inner ear is damaged. People with this kind of hearing impairment have a hard time hearing soft sounds, and louder sounds also may be muffled. Medication, illness, genetics, aging, head trauma, and noise can cause sensorineural hearing loss.

Mixed: Damage to the outer or middle ear and inner ear causes this kind of hearing loss. The same factors that lead to conductive and sensorineural hearing loss cause mixed hearing loss.
Understanding the type and origin of hearing loss will determine the kind of treatment your physician prescribes.

What’s next?

So you’ve been to your ENT specialist and the doctor has diagnosed your type of hearing loss. If you have conductive hearing loss, your physician will recommend medicine or surgery — or both. For mixed hearing loss, medication or surgery may help with part of the problem, but it likely won’t cure your hearing problem. And with sensorineural hearing loss, medicine or surgery is unlikely to help. However, hearing aids probably will help you hear better and more clearly. Your ENT physician also may refer you to an audiologist, who will determine the degree of your hearing loss and the best type of hearing aid for you.

Millions of Americans experience hearing loss. But not enough of them are scheduling time with their ENT doctor. With a check of symptoms and diagnosis from a specialist, people with hearing loss will be back on the path to hearing more clearly.

Do You Love Fireworks?

Do you love fireworks? I do. The warm summer air, the quality time with family, the sense of community. Nothing feels more like summer than venturing out to the park to watch fireworks. Even though I love fireworks, it’s important to remember that they present more than just a fire hazard, they can also damage your hearing.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, the average adult has a peak hearing level of 140dB. Fireworks range from 150 – 175 dB, which means with each bang and sparkle, you could be hurting your ability to hear. Fireworks have even more of an impact on children. A child’s ear can only take 120 dB before their hearing can be impaired.

Of course, you can still enjoy a fireworks show with your family and friends. I have five helpful tips to protect the ears of everyone:

1. Keep a safe distance

For children that is at least 50 meters, which is just over half the length of a football field.

2. Wear earplugs

If you’re like me and you like to set off your own fireworks, your safest bet is to wear earplugs. They will easily protect your hearing from whizzing, sizzling, and banging of your fireworks.

3. Light one firework at a time then quickly move away

This tip will not only save you from physical harm, it will also protect your hearing. It goes back to tip #1, keep a safe distance. You don’t want to be too close when the explosion takes place.

4. Always have an adult supervise firework activity

Accidents occur in seconds. Children don’t always recognize the dangers around them.

5. Make sure the area is safe for fireworks

Of course, you want to be a safe distance from homes, trees, or anything that may easily catch fire, but you’ll also need to be aware of reverberation. The booms of fireworks can echo at dangerous decibels.

Firework season can be a lot of fun, but remember to be safe. Protect yourself from the sun, the heat, and, as always, from hearing loss.

Putting Students’ Imaginations to Work with ListenPoint 2.0

Let’s face it. Other than parents, teachers have the greatest influence over children, so it is essential that students hear well in the classroom. That’s why we released ListenPoint 2.0, our latest Soundfield solution—we wanted to make learning limitless.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Shakespeare had never learned to read? What if Einstein hadn’t had the opportunity to learn calculus? How different would our lives be if Steve Jobs couldn’t hear his kindergarten teacher? Without Jobs, we’d all still be using those crazy brick cell phones from the 1980’s! #lame #nomobileapps #howwouldiplaycandycrushsaga

Students learn best in environments where they can focus on what their teachers are saying. Unfortunately, several factors can get in the way. Some students have trouble focusing because they have hearing loss or are too far away from the teacher. Meanwhile, the classroom itself might have poor acoustics, or the teacher could have a strained voice from talking too loudly or too long.

In today’s classrooms, students have a lot of creative and innovative thinking to do. ListenPoint 2.0 helps them put their imaginations to work. It can also have a positive effect on their grades and test scores.* #bettergradesareawesome #A+ #listenpointisgenius

ListenPoint 2.0 delivers the following key benefits:

  • With mission critical deployments, it is the most advanced, flexible, scalable Soundfield system delivered by a trusted authority in the pro-AV market.
  • It incorporates AV technology and assistive listening systems to create enhanced and enriched learning environments for all students.
  • It is easy to install, operate, maintain, and adds more functionality over time.
  • It couples competitive pricing with advanced features.

We are truly excited to be part of a noble mission—educating students to become extraordinary people.















*The Marrs Report, 2006

Hearing Loop Technology & Installation Methods Have Come a Long Way

Although Hearing Loop technology has been around for quite a while now, some people still have misperceptions that it doesn’t work well. The reason is that Hearing Loop systems of the past received a bad reputation, because of people not fully understanding the principles behind them.

We saw some people trying to install these systems in the early 60’s and 70’s, but at that time there were no real standards for installing them. There were cases where some installers were throwing down any kind of wire (like a telephone wire) as a “perimeter loop” around any size room, and hooking it up to any amplifier, and then trying to pass this off as a Hearing Loop system. This was wrong in so many ways!
As a result, people in the past with T-coil equipped hearing devices had to sit right next to the wall where the perimeter loop wire was to pick up any level of the audio at all, and yet at the middle of the room/facility they had no audio reception. People became frustrated and the general consensus about the technology was, “that it didn’t work.”  This earned Hearing Loop systems a bad reputation in the United States. In reality, it wasn’t the technology that was bad; it was a culmination of bad design, metal loss in the same physical plane of the loop, bad installation, and the wrong product selection. Unfortunately, some of these perceptions of these systems or, technology, still exist.
Obviously, you can’t just throw any equipment into a room and hope that it works. This is a point that we strive for people to understand. Attendees of our Listen Basic Hearing Loop Training (Level 1) Webinar have this basic understanding.  The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) IEC-60118-4:2006 standard for Hearing Loop systems is a result of ensuring that understanding.
The IEC 60118-4 provides a standard for system performance, specifies the use of the T-sign logo, and provides an expectation of quality. The standard of system performance specifically ensures that for each system there is:
1)      Low Electro-Magnetic Background Noise
2)      The Correct Field Strength
3)      Even Field Strength
4)      Flat Frequency Response
Listen Technologies offers our AV Dealers and Consultants a full One-Day Integration & Commissioning of Hearing Loop Systems (Level 2) class that takes participants through the steps required to properly install a Hearing Loop system. Participants will understand the following:
  • Loop systems principles.
  • Specification and design considerations of different kinds of loops systems – basic, advanced and phased-array.
  • Requirements of the international performance standard IEC60118-4.
  • Theory and hands-on practical experience of installing, setting up, testing and certifying a hearing loop system.
  • How to effectively set up and measure the system to meet the IEC60118-4 standard.
  • Certifying the system to the IEC60118-4 performance standard.
  • Working knowledge of the different types of test equipment and methods for proper use.
  • Good wiring practices and product placement.
  • How to troubleshoot various real-world challenges to minimize their impact on the system’s performance and utility.
  • Methods for performing site surveys for effective specification and installation of all types of hearing loops systems.
At the successful completion of this session and test, the participants will be certified as a Hearing Loop integrator capable of meeting the performance standard IEC60118-4.

Listen Technologies is proud of its partnership with the recognized world leader in Hearing Loop Technology, Ampetronic. The partnership allows Listen to distribute world-class technology and provide expertise in education and technical support to the growing number of North American based installers. To learn more about Hearing Loop Installation, I invite you to attend one of our Hearing Loop training courses.

Common Misconceptions about Hearing Loss (Part Two)

Last month I posted the first part of a piece devoted to dispelling some myths about hearing loss. As a continuation of this series, I’d like to discuss more of the common misconceptions associated with hearing loss; however, this post will focus on the subject matter from a different perspective. In this post, I hope to go over some of the beliefs we all have associated with developing a hearing loss and why it’s important to treat it, rather than simply ignore it.

The sounds we hear every day are part of what makes us who we are {click to tweet}, whether those sounds are our favorite songs on the radio, a pet purring on our lap, birds singing in our garden, or our loved ones whispering that they love us. When we lose the ability to distinguish these sounds completely, it can be frightening and hard to admit.
Although there are certain instances in which someone can lose their hearing very suddenly, it’s usually a gradual change. In other words, hearing loss develops gradually over time, so gradually, in fact, that it can be hard to notice. Some of the symptoms of hearing loss include:
·         Difficulty telling the difference between high-pitched sounds like “th” and “s”
·         Having a harder time hearing women’s voices than men’s voices
·         Needing to turn up the TV or radio
·         Difficulty following conversations when more than two people are talking
·         Often asking people to speak more clearly or louder
·         Avoiding certain social situations, because you find them frustrating
Due to the gradual way that hearing loss develops, people tend to ignore it or don’t want to admit that they have it. They simply say, “I can still hear most things, so clearly I’m just fine,” or “I’d know if I had hearing loss because my doctor would have told me. “ But this isn’t the case.
Hearing loss isn’t an all or nothing issue. Just because you can still hear some things, doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have hearing loss. If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, you may want to have your hearing tested. If your hearing is fine, it can’t hurt, right? And if you do find that you are developing hearing loss, there are things that can be done to help treat it.
There are lots and lots (and lots) of excuses when it comes to not wanting to admit you have hearing loss and getting it treated. One of the biggest myths is that living with hearing loss isn’t that hard. Depending on how severe your hearing loss is, it can affect many different aspects of your life.
Let’s say, for example, that one of the aspects of your job is going to meetings frequently. If you start developing a hearing loss, you’re going to have to work harder to hear in these meetings. It’s going to take more effort to stay focused because you can’t quite hear everything. You may have to ask people to repeat themselves or talk louder. If your hearing loss goes untreated, you may even run the risk of not being able to hear what’s happening in these meetings at all, which would lead to poor job performance. This is clearly not good.
Maybe you don’t have to go to meetings all day long at work so that example isn’t that meaningful to you. Let’s consider something else. What if at the end of the day one of your favorite family activities has always been to watch TV together? Perhaps your kids are all out of the house, but you and your spouse still love to cuddle up and watch a good sitcom or one of those awesome, period drama pieces on PBS. The popcorn is popped. The lighting is dimmed. But the volume is so loud that your spouse can’t stand to stay cuddled next to you. This leaves you alone on the sofa. This is clearly not fun.
These examples aren’t meant to frighten or cause any upset, they’re merely meant to illustrate the fact that living with hearing loss isn’t easy. If your hearing loss is treated, you can improve your life. There’s no reason to stubbornly ignore it. You’re not doing yourself (or your loved ones) any favors.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again and again, I do not have a hearing loss. I do, however, know people who have hearing loss and the longer I have the opportunity to work and write for Listen, the more people I have the opportunity to meet more and more people who are affected by hearing loss. These people, whether they have hearing loss or whether they advocate for loved ones who have hearing loss, inspire me to learn more every day; they inspire me to be an advocate, as well. And it is with that in mind that I continue to try to break down some of the stigmas that are associated with hearing loss. Even if one person’s mind is changed by reading this post, then it has been worth it. If you feel you are developing a hearing loss, I urge you to get your hearing checked. It’s a simple step you can take to improving your life.

Sam Nord of Listen Technologies Presents at the San Francisco Chapter of the HLAA

Recently, Sam Nord, the Territory Account Manager for California at Listen Technologies had the opportunity to give a presentation on Assistive Listening: ADA Compliance & Hearing Loop Technology to members of the San Francisco Chapter of the HLAA.

Sam’s presentation covered:
·  ADA Changes: What you need to know
·  Assistive Listening Devices in public venues
·  Trends in hearing aids
·  What venues need to know about people with hearing loss
·  Three types of assistive listening technologies (RF, IR and Hearing Loop)
·  Hearing Loop technology
·  Loop America Movement

One of the primary missions of the HLAA-CA is to educate people who have hearing loss, as well as their family members, friends, coworkers, teachers, and government representatives. As he was there to educate the members about Assistive Listening, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Hearing Loops, Sam’s presentation fit right in with their mission.

Of the many highlights at the event, Sam expressed particular excitement about the number of attendees. “I was very excited by the attendance at this event, which I was told was nearly double the usual attendance at these meetings. Clearly Hearing Loops are a hot topic of interest right now,” Nord stated.

Hearing Loops are gaining more popularity in the United States for a number of reasons. Firstly, more people have hearing aids that are equipped with t-coils making Hearing Loops the Assistive Listening technology of choice. People who have these types of hearing aids or cochlear implants don’t have to check out equipment that has been previously used by others; they can use their own devices.

Secondly, more people with hearing loss are demanding the technology. There are many Loop Movements, like the Loop Utah Movement, gaining momentum all over the country. “I was happy to learn that there are already the beginnings of a grassroots campaign in the area to get more and more facilities looped. There were non-HLAA members in attendance at this meeting who specifically came because they have had requests to put Hearing Loops in their facilities and wanted to learn more about what was required,” Nord said.

Finally, the number of qualified and certified Hearing Loop installers is growing in North America to meet the explosive demand for Hearing Loop systems. Throughout Europe Hearing Loops must be installed to the IEC Standard (IEC- 60118-4); integrators in the US are realizing that this quality standard is key to providing end users the best results. A properly designed, installed and operating Hearing Loop system delivers real tangible benefits to T-coil hearing aid users. It is a profound emotional experience. Proper training and certification to meet the IEC 60118-4 standard is critical to that experience.

Eventually, all of us will face issues surrounding hearing loss, whether it is our own or that of someone we love. Therefore, creating more awareness about these issues continues to be important for everyone. With double the attendance at his recent presentation in San Francisco, Sam helped build more awareness about some of these important topics.

If you know someone with hearing loss (or even if you don’t), we encourage you to become more aware of the ADA requirements for Assistive Listening and Assistive Listening Systems. You can do so by following our blog, visiting our resource pages on hearing loss advocacy and legislative compliance, joining your local chapter of the HLAA, help build the ALDLocatordatabase, or becoming an advocate in your area by starting a Loop Movement of your own.

Communication and Hearing Loss

Most of us have heard the phrase “Good Communication is Key” countless times, but the reason we’ve heard it over and over again, is because it’s true. When was the last time bad communication got you what you wanted or helped you achieve success? Probably never.

One of the biggest components of good communication is understanding. If either participant in a conversation isn’t fully understood, then good communication isn’t happening. Making certain that both participants are being heard clearly is particularly important when hearing loss is a concern. Here are a few important things to remember when you’re communicating with someone who has hearing loss.
Use Body Language. OK, so you don’t have to turn into a puppet flailing your arms all over the place, but body language, no matter who you’re talking to, is incredibly important. It becomes even more important if you’re conversing with someone who has hearing loss. Keep your body language open rather than closed so that your conversation feels inviting. It’s also a great idea to maintain eye contact.
Don’t exaggerate your lip and mouth movements. You have a lovely and expressive face and it’s great that you use it during conversations to convey how you’re feeling about something, but when you’re having a chat with someone with a hearing loss, don’t exaggerate things with your mouth. This can make it difficult for that person to read your lips. Also avoid speaking too slowly, because it can come off as super patronizing and nobody wants to be that guy.
Remember that time you went overseas and were sort of embarrassed by the tourists who would shout in English thinking that if they shouted louder they’d be better understood? It doesn’t work in Europe or in conversations with people who have hearing loss. Yelling often makes words harder to understand and it makes you look kind of silly. Follow the advice of your mother; there’s no need to shout.
Ask open-ended questions. “Yes” and “no” questions can only get you so far, but an open-ended query can not only keep things going, they also let you know if you’re being understood. How do you ask an open-ended question? Simply ask something that will promote more conversation. For example, instead of asking, “Did you like the movie,” ask “What did you think of the movie,” because it allows more discussion. More discussion means more understanding.

If you’re unsure about how to best communicate with someone who has hearing loss, ask them. They may have their own advice that works best for communicating specifically with them; after all, no one’s hearing loss is exactly the same. The key is to make sure everyone’s needs are being met, that good conversation is happening, and that you’re both being understood.

Listen Technologies