Updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

In 2010, new standards for the ADA became law. These standards took full effect on March 15, 2012 and are mandatory for all new construction or renovations. The following are highlights of the changes, specifically for assistive listening systems.

  • An assistive listening system shall be provided in assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the space. This means that any space where people gather is required to have an assistive listening system. The assistive listening system must cover the entire space of the venue, not just one area. There is more information below regarding what types of venues and spaces are required to provide assistive listening systems.
  • Assistive listening is required where there is amplified sound. If there is a microphone and/or speakers, as system is needed. Courtrooms must have assistive listening systems, even without amplified sound.
  • The original ADA requirements specified that the number of assistive listening devices was 4 percent of seating capacity. The new requirements have been scaled to match the total occupancy of the venue. There is more specific information below regarding how many assistive listening devices (ALDs) are required.
  • The new, 2010 requirements of the ADA state that a percentage of assistive listening devices must be hearing aid compatible to interface with t-coils in hearing aids. This is accommodated via neck loop technology with RF or IR assistive listening systems.

To view the complete 2010 Standards in the final rules for Title II (28 CFR part 35) and Title III (28 CFR part 36) visit,

For a summary of 2010 changes to Assistive Listening Systems (click here)


Understand regulations set forth by the appropriate governing body to learn the requirements and recommendations and how they may apply to you.

California Building Code (CBC)

While they’ve adopted the format of the ADA, the State of California relies on the California Building Code (CBC) to outline their compliance laws. This means that the requirements for assistive listening systems in California are a little different. You can find the requirements listen under sections 11B-219 and 11B-706 in the CBC, which gets updated every three years.

Listen Technologies