Archives for posts with tag: hearing loop

May 2020

Republished with Permission:

Rosemarie Muth
Pastor and Audio Therapist, Pastoral Care for Hard of Hearing People, Protestant Church of Württemberg, Germany

and Norbert Muth

For more information visit:
www.diakonie-wuerttemberg.de/rat-hilfe/menschen-mit-behinderung/seelsorge-fuer-schwerhoerige/

To say it in advance:
The classic induction (hearing) loop is still the clear choice.
And that will probably remain the case for the next 10-20 years.

In January 2020, after 7 years of planning and discussion at the instigation of EHIMA (European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association), an extension to the Bluetooth Low Energy standard was finally decided: Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (short: BLE Audio).

Previous versions were either not able to transmit audio at all, or if so, only with expensive hearing aids and usually only with proprietary technology from Apple compatible only with newer iPhones. So far, however, only a limited number of devices (max. 2 hearing aids in parallel) can be connected. As a public assistive listening system it is therefore not suitable. That has changed with the new BLE Audio standard, at least in theory. Only the future will show whether this can be achieved in practice. It depends on very different factors, such as the acceptance of the hard of hearing people, the usability and, last but not least, whether it can succeed in ensuring a stable transmission network.

One thing is certain, BLE Audio will appear in the first hearing aids in 1-2 years at the earliest. So far, it has not been installed in any hearing aid. It will also not be possible to issue a software upgrade for already existing hearing aids, as the physical hardware would not be compatible. Some hearing aid manufacturers now have to redesign, reprogram, produce and, above all, re-approve their hearing aid chips worldwide. That alone will consume time and money. Therefore, it is very likely that the most expensive hearing aids will be equipped first, then the medium-priced hearing aids, and only after a considerable delay will the basic devices also be equipped with BLE Audio functionality, as we have seen with other innovations in hearing aids.

So, it will take at least several years, until (perhaps) most new hearing aids will have BLE audio. However, not all people will have hearing aids with this technology by then. Hearing aids in Germany usually have to be worn for 6 years. Most people who have to make a co-payment however, wear their devices significantly longer. This means that we can expect comprehensive coverage with BLE Audio at the earliest 10 years after the sale of the last hearing aids without BLE Audio. These periods are mostly underestimated, as not all people are supplied with high-end devices or have the money for new ones. Especially people aged 80 and over often no longer buy new hearing aids “because it doesn’t pay off for me”.

Induction loops will not “die” that quickly. They are still the most reliable, cost-effective and low-maintenance hearing system available to us. They are also the only public assistive listening technology that are barrier-free and will remain so, at least for the next 2-3 generations of hearing impaired people! This is why the International Hearing Access Committee (IHAC) assumes a time window of at least 10-15 years or even more. (https://www.ampetronic.com/2019/08/hearing-loops-and-telecoils-could-they-be-replaced-soon/)

After that, induction loops and BLE audio (or other successor standards) could coexist, and maybe it will stay that way for a very, very long time. It is not yet clear whether this will not even become the norm. We recently spoke to the Technical development manager of a hearing aid company. He strongly believes that for hearing aids which only have BLE audio (instead of telecoil),  there will be additional external devices for inductive reception.

Perhaps inductive hearing aids will eventually be replaced by this or another technology, but one thing is certain, BLE Audio will not be an option for the next generation of hearing-impaired people. Most of them will not be able to use it and will therefore be dependent on a different solution. Also, as a rule, the inductive hearing system (installed above ground) continues to be the basic technology for primary care. The telecoil will not disappear, despite gloomy predictions, because it will remain necessary for those countries, where a comprehensive supply of the latest smartphones is not economically viable.

But what use does the new Bluetooth 5.2 (BLE Audio) from January 6, 2020 have?

What could the previous Bluetooth versions in hearing aids achieve?

  • Bluetooth Classic (BTC) is only available in very few hearing aids because actually it does not make sense. Although it can transmit audio, it consumes a lot of energy, battery-wise, and has a high latency (time between the spoken and heard word) and is therefore not able to lip-sync.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), also called BT Smart, has no audio transmission, so it is only used in Hearing aids for remote control.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with Apple extension (“made for iPhone”) can transmit audio, but only with newer Apple devices, all other smartphones, notebooks and tablets need an additional device, subject to additional charge. There may also be problems with the latency here.

Pairing:

In all three versions, the hearing aid must be registered on the transmitter (the smartphone) i.e. the hearing aid must be individually paired with the transmitter. Before BT 5.0 only one audio pairing per transmitter was available. From BT 5.0 on a maximum of two audio receivers could be paired at the same time (e.g. a Bluetooth speaker and a hearing aid), not more.

These are the main reasons why Bluetooth up to version 5.1 is not suitable for a public hearing system

  • no audio or only with a special additional device
  • high latency
  • pairing
  • only two participants maximum

What’s new with BLE audio?

  • Bluetooth-Low-Energy 5.2 is now able to transmit audio, like previously the Bluetooth Classic. BLE 5.2 got a brand new CODEC (“LC3”) that shrinks the audio data, as with MP3, so that parts of the language are not transmitted. This reduces the latency to around 5ms. It will only be clear towards the end of 2020 how exactly this will work.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy 5.2 now offers a “streaming” solution. In addition, each audio data packet comes with a period of validity. If it cannot be sent during this period (e.g. due to overloading of the Bluetooth chip or network, or not processed by the hearing aid) it will just be left out. This results in dropouts, crackles and wrong sound in the hearing aid speakers.
  • Bluetooth-Low-Energy 5.2 now also has multi-streaming. One transmitter can have multiple audio streams sent simultaneously i.e. in a conference hall or cinema for translations e.g. German and English. The hearing aid can also subscribe to multiple streams e.g. a soccer game broadcast in a pub and the announcements of the host or an alarm system.
  • In addition to the normal pairing between the Bluetooth transmitter and the hearing aid, there is now also the so-called Broadcasting, i.e. a kind of radio. The hearing aid no longer has to be registered or paired with the transmitter but just ‘listens’. There are different types:
    • completely free listening
    • listening with approval (= passcode). Since Bluetooth radio goes through walls, too, this prevents someone from listening in on a park bench outside the venue.
  • With Bluetooth Low Energy 5.2, the hearing aid can automatically connect to a nearby hearing station (e.g. an exhibit in a museum). Additional aids or devices are not required. Although, the hearing aid must be switched to the correct mode beforehand.

So far only the basic plan (core specification) has been adopted, more than 20 necessary detailed features are expected to come later in the year. The first chipsets are expected to be available in a year.[1]

However, all of these new functions are not mandatory for a Bluetooth chip to be recognised as version 5.2,  manufacturers are also allowed to install only parts of the standard. That means, even if a new notebook has a Bluetooth 5.2 chip installed, it is far from being said that this PC is suitable for use as a public hearing system. What functions in real hardware, in firmware (programs on the chip), what is in the driver, in the operating system or buried in the application software is not clearly recognizable. BLE audio will also not be available on Android below version 10, so an upgrade to a new device is mandatory for those with older models.

We could not find any information on Apple, although Windows 10 will receive an update at some point. Probably the new chips will be at first installed in the expensive smartphones / tablets / PCs and only afterwards with several years delay on the affordable mid-range devices.


Compatibility with previous devices:

All expensive hearing aids “made for iPhone” will not work with BLE Audio, unless a hearing aid manufacturer would develop a BLE Audio accessory “made-for-iPhone” and a corresponding app that controls the device. Bluetooth Classic devices could not pair either. It cannot be assumed that hearing aid manufacturers will develop new software for previous Bluetooth hearing aids, create a new driver and replace hardware parts. For each “made for iPhone” hearing aid there already exists an adaptor for Bluetooth classic. Now theoretically it could be possible, that a third-party manufacturer develops an additional adaptor translating BLE audio to Bluetooth classic. And these two devices have to be coupled. However, if that should be the case there would be a long latency period between the sound being generated and it being heard, e.g. in a thriller film a victim would fall over before the gun shot would be heard.

But what options will be available hearing aid users that currently use a telecoil ?  Currently devices are available for a few Euros which receive Bluetooth Version 4.2 and output on a headphone jack to allow all wired headphones to receive Bluetooth audio. A hearing aid user can use the same device to drive a neck loop. Given that such a device will be required for the much larger headphone market, it is likely that a “Bluetooth 5.2 receiver” will be readily available.


Handling:

With a BLE audio hearing system, the hearing aid must be paired to the desired audio stream to receive it. The one to four buttons currently used on hearing systems almost certainly won’t be adequate, especially with content requiring approval; the passcode can hardly be entered on the hearing aid manually. Therefore, it is very likely that a smartphone will always be necessary to control hearing aid technology using this standard. Difficulties arise ensuring all those people who experience hearing loss have a current smartphone. That again takes time, for example even Bluetooth 5.0, launched in December 2016, is not even present in all current early 2020 smartphones.


“Coupling” to public hearing systems

Anyone who has ever tried to pair their Bluetooth speaker with their smartphone knows that this is not always easy. A hearing aid with Bluetooth 5.2 standard has to connect with a Bluetooth hearing system transmitter in a church, the parish hall or in public spaces. That this connection will most likely not be done on the hearing aid itself makes things more problematic and complicated, not easier. Presumably these hearing aids will come with an app. Even ignoring the considerable data protection problems for the moment, the app would communicate with the existing hearing system transmitter and you have to make a choice as to which of the available streams you want to hear. Nobody wants to watch Casablanca, just to hear Star Wars audio from the next room because of a wrong connection or the Spanish language channel instead of the native one. We are interested to see how this will be resolved. So far nothing has been decided yet!

“Coupling” to the induction loop, on the other hand, means that I only place my hearing aid on the telecoil program via a switch. This is one of the 3-6 typical functions of the hearing aid. Mostly it is a button on the hearing aid that is pressed to move from one program to another. Some, more expensive, hearing aids also have an app to enable the mode to be changed via a smartphone.

Every now and then during our consultations we are asked, whether elderly people, in particular, are able to cope with changing their hearing aids to the telecoil program. As a rule they are able, but if they are not, they will definitely not be able to use Bluetooth!

Our conclusion:

We all hope that one day there will be better and cheaper public hearing system technology that can replace induction. If this should be BLE audio, it will still take many years to get there and it will be much, much longer before induction can be replaced completely with a clear conscience. Whether BLE is the future will depend on its suitability. 2.4GHz technology is already considered overloaded today. Without change, this problem will only increase further in the future, leading to gaps in the transmission by BLE Audio, in transmission aborts or becomes incomprehensible. This would make BLE audio certainly not an appropriate alternative for induction loops.

Addendum:

In the meantime Bluetooth LE-ASHA is available for Android 10. It works similar to BLE Apple, but is not compatible with it, neither it is with the other versions. BLE ASHA is not intended for public hearing systems. Nevertheless, this makes a total of five (!) different, incompatible Bluetooth Systems for hearing aids to choose from. We will see which system(s) will prevail. Until then Induction loops are the only universally compatible systems.

[1] https://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Bluetooth-erhaelt-komplett-neue-Audio-Architektur-4635793.html

Translation was made possible by Ampetronic where this blog was initially posted: www.ampetronic.com/

In my previous blog I made a case for the need for hearing loop technology in public places. For hearing loops to benefit consumers – the hearing loops have to be installed to meet the IEC 60118-4 standard, clear hearing loop signage has to be provided and the consumer needs to know how to link into the hearing loop signal.

The good news is that more and more hearing aids, even small mini-devices, now come equipped with telecoils. And, thanks to the advocacy of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA),  active HLAA members and ardent hearing loop advocates around the country, more and more places are installing hearing loops.

But…a common complaint among loop advocates is that still way too many hearing aid using consumers are tragically unaware their hearing devices include this telecoil.  What can we do to correct this? That is where audiologists could play an important, even a pivotal, role. By including and activating telecoils in the hearing aids they fit, taking 5 minutes to demonstrating their benefit, and handing out information on the Americans with Disabilities Act would go a long way.

Here is what I believe hearing aid consumers should expect from hearing aid providers:

  1. The provider orders hearing aids that have built-in, vertically oriented telecoils. These telecoils, when turned on, need to offer the same gain and frequency response setting to a 60 dB sound input as compared to a 31.6 mA/m magnetic sound input. In audiology parlance this means the instrument has to have a matching ANSI SPLIV test The good news is that most European hearing aid makes meet this so called Nordic Telecoil standard.
  2. The audiologist activates the telecoil and offers the consumer clear instructions on how to use it (preferably in writing). The gold standard is that the telecoil setting is verified in a test box or in a waiting room with a TV connected to a hearing loop. If your provider doesn’t offer a hearing loop in their waiting or treatment room– share this article by Drs. Caccavo and Lopez . In it they explain why every provider needs a loop in the office.
  3. The hearing care provider explains the capabilities as well as the limitations of hearing aids, and how to overcome these limitations. Consumers need to be told that thanks to the Americans with Disability Act hearing well (in places where PA systems are used) is their civil right. That consumers should expect reasonable accommodations for people with hearing loss, just like people in wheel-chairs expect ramps and elevators. Every consumer needs to be given information how assistive technology works with a telecoil. Brochure examples can be found on the Hearing Loss Association of America  and the American Academy of Audiology websites.
  4. The audiologist is a vocal advocate for hearing access rights in the community. Where providers take on this role or where providers work hand in hand with their clients, hearing loops appear. Some providers even hand out hearing loop advocacy cards  their clients can take around in the community. Many a loop has been fostered when this conversation about hearing access was started. And when places are unwilling to offer access mandated by the ADA? Providers could offer the link to file complaints with the Department of Justice:ada.gov/filing_complaints on their practice websites.

Should you be told, when you ask about telecoils, that 1) you don’t need one, 2) that they are old technology or 3) that there aren’t enough loops around to make it worthwhile for you to get one – question his or her authority. Telecoils and hearing loops have greatly improved in the last decade and progress is being made daily in the Looping of America. To find hearing loops near you visit www.aldlocator.com , www.LoopFinder.com  or download the Loop My Phone app on iTunes.

Hearing advocates around the country are fighting for your right to hear. Join the fight – ask me how. Email me at jsterkens@hearingloss.org

 

waiting-room

 


Recently I received a letter (in Danish mind you) from an experienced cochlear implant user who describes her personal experience with Cochlear’s new Loop Booster accessory. Thanks to Google Translate and Janni, the writer of the letter, I was able to translate it so that English speaking CI users can read about her Loop Booster experience.

Full disclosure: Janni Glæsner is the past president of the Danish Adult Cochlear Implant Association CIF http://cochlearimplant.dk/ and is currently is employed by Danaflex, the Danish distributor of Cochlear Products.

Johannes Kirke

The Johannes Church in Greve, DK offers a hearing loop for hearing device users. Like nearly all churches in Scandinavia

 

And the Noise Disappeared…

I don’t have to use a hearing loop often with my cochlear implant processors, but recently I was a confirmation at the Johannes Church in Greve Denmark and needed to turn on my telecoil to follow the sermon. I heard what I nearly always hear when I turn the telecoils my Cochlear CP810 processor on: a hum and crackling and my head orientation affects the loop signal strength.  Now, this noise doesn’t really bother me as it will not drown out the speech I want to hear. The crackle is just there, like the humming of a heating system or a fan. So if I think the sound is a bit too far away and requires me to pay very close attention to hear, such as at a lecture,  I use the telecoil, where possible.

A few weeks ago I learned of a new product from Cochlear called a Loop Booster. The Loop Booster is externally mounted on my Cochlear Implant device replacing the internal telecoil in the processor. The Loop Booster is larger and is said to improve the reception of sound through an induction loop system. Well, this aroused my curiosity!  Could a Loop Booster, I wondered, dampen – or perhaps even eliminate the hum and crackling I hear when using a  loop system? It was time for another visit to Johannes Church. So last Sunday I made the trek back to church to attend the All Saints Service.

I found a place discreetly on one of the back rows and settled in with a hymnal, my implant’s remote control and two Loop Boosters. Let the experiment begin!

loop Booster only

Loop Booster Attachment

My first thought turned to the loop system itself. Would it be turned on for the service? It sure was. But, as soon as I turned my processors’ telecoils on, the familiar hum and crackling appeared and when I moved my head the voice of the minister faded and the hum became even worse. It was time to attach the Loop Boosters on both processors. What happened next was amazing: The humming and crackling noise disappeared … and the sound was louder and clearer. It was as if an audio cable was connected from the microphone in the church to my processors. And when I moved my head, the signal did not disappear like it did when I used the built in telecoils. I also did not need to fine-tune using my remote control like I had to in the past.  The sound was clear and bright, just like I like! Wow!

Loop Booster

Cochlear CP810 Processor with the Loop Booster attached

Janni 2

Janni Glæsner

Because I have heard that other CI users have problems with noise when they use the processor’s telecoils I am sharing this experience with you, and am curious as to whether the Loop Booster works for others.
Signed: Janni Glæsner 

PS: Readers of this blog may want to know that Janni lives in Denmark where, fortunately for all telecoil equipped hearing aids and all cochlear implants users, hearing loops are common place.  She uses Cochlear Model 5 CP810’s in both ears, but told me that the Loop Booster can also be used for the Nucleus Model 6 CP 910 processors. Janni and I would love to hear from other users of the Loop Booster. Janni can be reached via her Facebook page www.facebook.com/janni.glaesner?fref=ts and I can be reached at jsterkens@new.rr.com

Kudos to Cochlear for listening to its customers.
A few years back, many cochlear implant users complained that the older Freedom processors with their vertically positioned telecoils had better hearing loop reception than the newer Nucleus devices whose telecoils were mounted horizontally. It is nice to know the company took these complaints seriously and developed this new telecoil attachment. Telecoils can dramatically enhance the cochlear implant user’s hearing experience in public venues that offer hearing loops as shown in a recently published study in the October 2014 Hearing Review

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This is a rerun of a letter to the editor of Hearing Journal – back in December 2010

As an audiologist for close to 27 years in a small private practice, I think I’ve stumbled on what will finally make many of my patients happy. I have been in houses of worship and other public places where, although I have normal hearing, it was difficult to hear. That made me think about my patients: If I could barely hear, how wouldthey fare? I know that few of them speak up, pick up an assistive device, or move closer. More often they will complain about their hearing aid (to me!) and just sit there or stop attending these events.

The seminars I’ve given at churches and senior centers did little to increase use of FM assistive devices, and advocating for neckloop purchases rarely turned them into believers in FM technology. I have tied myself in pretzels trying to get them to advocate for themselves. That is, until I heard Dr. Dave Myers speak at a meeting about his success in looping Western Michigan.

Hearing loops turn any telecoil-equipped hearing instrument into a speaker for the PA system. This simple, unsexy, low-tech t-coil turns your hearing aid into a personalized listening device that significantly and effortlessly improves the signal-to-noise ratio—that elusive goal we all are looking for when we fit directional-microphone instruments.

As audiologists, we also know that the small SNR improvements these D-microphones provide rarely satisfy the needs of the patient, who, besides having a hearing deficit, frequently has auditory processing challenges and therefore needs an SNR improvement not possible with an ear-level device, no matter what its level of technology. This is a physics problem, not a hearing aid problem.

Enter the hearing loop, also known as “Wi-Fi for hearing aids.” It circumvents the physics problem. It does for hearing aids what no other assistive device can: Make our patients hear better in situations where heretofore they could not. It is truly the missing link in our practice. Hearing loops use the t-coil, which is present in 60% of all hearing aids sold in the U.S. and in over 90% of high-power instruments. The t-coil is low cost, low in power consumption, and, best of all, easy to use.

As audiologists, we need to advocate for our patients. Our advocacy will help them hear so much better. I will even go as far as to say that, under some circumstances, persons using the loop will hear betterthan the persons sitting beside them.

Advocating for hearing loop technology is easy. You start with your own waiting room: Install a small loop driver and start demonstrating it. Contact a reputable professional audio company and explain that you would like to work with them in bringing this technology to area churches. Donate a hearing loop driver/amplifier to your own church, community theater, or seniors meeting room to get it going. And start giving speeches to service clubs or retirement centers. Trust me, hearing is believing!

Collectively supporting “hearing loop initiatives” in our local communities will result, sooner rather than later, in a “Looped America,” as Dr. Dave Myers has written in the Sept./Oct. 2008Hearing Loss Magazine.

No technology now or in the near future can do what induction hearing loop technology can do today! Our advocacy will let America know we truly “Care for America’s Hearing” and we will benefit with increased acceptance and use of hearing aids.

Juliette Sterkens, AuD

Oshkosh, WI

 (The original letter can be found here: http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Fulltext/2010/12000/Hearing_Loops_Make_Consumers_Flip_Where_Hearing.9.aspx)

On July 17th the ANSI A117.1 Committee convened in Washington DC voted to revise the current 2009 International Building Code to include a statement that when a hearing loop is installed it shall meet the IEC 60118-4 induction hearing loop standard.  This paper explains why this is important.

There are so many different groups involved each with their own acronyms… it is enough to drive someone like me, an advocate focused on helping people with hearing loss hear better in public places, to exasperation.  ADA, ANSI, ICC and IBC, Chapter 11 and Section 706 did not mean much to me up until a few weeks ago but the light is beginning to dawn.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly referred to as the ADA, is a law that among other things, ensures access to the built environment for people with disabilities.  The ADA standard establishes design requirements for the construction and alteration of facilities subject to the law.  These enforceable standards apply to places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities.

It is the US Access Board that is responsible for developing and updating design guidelines known as the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).  These guidelines are used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) in setting enforceable standards that the public must follow.

In the ADA Standards, Chapter 2 on scoping, section 219, the reasons for accessible design are explained see http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#pgfId-1010597

  • The term scoping refers to what facilities need to be accessible. In regards to hearing accessibility the scoping requirements dictate that in assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the use of the space, an assistive listening system shall be provided.  Section 219 lists one exception: Other than in courtrooms, assistive listening systems shall not be required where audio amplification is not provided.

It is in ADA Standards Chapter 7, section 706 that the technical requirements for accessible design are explained see http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#pgfId-1006522

  • The technical requirements refer to the design and construction specifications and are found in section 706. In the case of hearing accessibility Section 706 dictates that 25% of the required assistive listening receivers shall be hearing aid compatible via the use of a neckloop, that a 1/8” standard mono jack shall be provided and that the individual receivers shall meet certain standards in regards to SPL, Peak-Clipping and  SNR levels.

It is the International Code Council (ICC), a member-focused association, dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures that develops the International Building Code or IBC aka the “I-Code”.

Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose to reference the IBC. This code book, which is the most widely adopted building code in the United States, comprises of 35 chapters and a series of Appendices A thru M. When referenced in local, state or federal legislation, the IBC becomes the minimum requirement for construction.

Chapter 11 of the International Building Code addresses accessible design and construction of facilities for physically disabled persons. Chapter 11 is developed by the ANSI A117.1 committee. This A117.1 standard is a recognized accessibility standard that provides the technical criteria which must be met in order to accomplish the required level of accessibility. When sites, facilities, buildings and elements are built to the specifications in the A117.1 they become usable by people with disabilities.

A117.1 is comprised of 11 chapters and it is chapter 7, section 706 that specifically deals with Assistive listening systems. Section A117.1 is a scoping free document. In other words, it has no triggers telling the user when to apply the specific criteria, that is what the ADA standard does.

For the readers of this document it is important to know that section 706 of the ANSI A117.1 Standard is not Section 706 of the 2010 ADA Standards.  At this time, it is only ANSI A117.1, section 706 that has been changed.  Section 706 of the ADA standards has not been changed.  Once states adopt the new A117.1 building code, the IBC code will be more stringent than the ADA standards.

What exactly was accomplished at the ANSI A117.1 meeting?

Until A117.1 is officially adopted, slated for December 2014, hearing loop installers and advocates will be able to state to architects, designers, construction companies and building inspectors  that the proposal to modify the 2009 IBC was passed and will be changed to reference the IEC 60118-4 hearing loop standard.

It is important to keep in mind that once A117.1 is officially adopted it will not indicate that hearing loops are the assistive listening system of choice for hearing aid users nor does it recommend using hearing loops as the default assistive listening system.

Currently the ADA Standards lists FM and IR technology as an equivalent assistive listening option for people with hearing loss. The ADA guidelines fail to take the users’ preferences into account, one study show experienced hearing aid users preferring hearing loops over FM/IR technology nearly 9 to 1, nor does it mention the numerous advantages of hearing loops listed here: http://www.hearingloop.org/fq_preferred.htm).

That hearing loops should be considered the assistive listening system of choice, because they are fully hearing aid compatible and therefore do not require the use of an auxiliary receiver, needs to be addressed by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and other consumer organization such as ALDA, NAD, TDI and AMPHL, when the ADA Accessibility Guidelines are up for review.

Juliette Sterkens, AuD
HLAA Hearing Loop Advocate