Assistive Listening Solutions for Theaters

Theaters have unique environments when it comes to catering for those with hearing disabilities. There is the experience in the theatre itself, but long before the visitor takes their seat, there are points of contact where their hearing can be assisted. Although we buy our tickets on-line these days, there may be patrons that want to buy their tickets at the ticket counter. Later they will probably want to buy snacks or drinks. It’s at these points of contact that theatre management can install technology that will assist those with hearing challenges.

Although theater goer’s that have hearing challenges may have hearing aids, the hearing aids themselves are often not enough to ensure a pleasant hearing experience. Some hearing aids tend to amplify all sound —contributing the problem. Government legislation requires that members with disabilities are accommodated. This includes those with hearing disabilities. (See ADA legislation in the USA —

Assistive Listening HQ offers solutions to help your venue meet the communication needs of your visitors. Our solutions including an array of large-area FM based transmitters and receivers and other digital communication systems. Each system is designed to meet ADA and DDA accessibility requirements, so they also provide peace of mind. These are some of the options:

DIGI-LOOP Assistive Listening Solution

A hearing loop (AKA an audio induction loop and t-coil ) is an ALS (Assistive Listening Solution) for use in an auditorium where visitors with hearing aids that have ‘Telecoils’ are automatically ‘tuned in’. The sound is transmitted to the listeners through a cable that runs around the perimeter of the coverage area. The hearing loop provides a wireless signal that is picked up by the T-coil enabled hearing aid.

Hearing loops can be installed at the ticket or snack counter. Hard of hearing patrons will know that a telecoil hearing loop is installed at that point because the signage shown below will inform them. The great feature here is the ‘invisibleness’ of the technology. The customer with the telecoil enabled hearing aid is automatically assisted without others being aware.

The hearing loop consists of a microphone, which the assistant at the counter will wear; an amplifier which processes the signal which is then sent through the final piece; the loop cable, a wire placed around the perimeter of a specific area like a ticket counter or stack counter to act as an antenna that radiates the signal to the hearing aid. The t-coil in a hearing aid automatically tunes into the ‘loop’

Here is the signage which shows an ADA compliant hearing loop installation.

A hearing loop can also be installed around a specific seating area in the theater.

Considerations for Hearing Loop Systems in Educational Settings:
· Cuts out unwanted background noise
· Sound goes directly to the t-coil compatible hearing aid
· Hearing loop coil is hidden from view
· Unlimited number of users within the ‘loop zone’
· Requires a major renovation of the floor area to install (ideal for installation during a renovation).

The PPA Range of FM Transmitters and Personal Receivers

The FM transmitter integrates into the existing PA system. The broadcast signal can be picked up by an issued matching PPA receiver and headphones. As needed, the receivers are charged (or battery swapped) and wiped down with an alcohol pad.

Features and benefits of the PPA range of FM based ALS’s.

· Ideal for large venues
· Easy to install
· Integrates fully with existing sound systems
· Listeners can sit anywhere
· Cost-effective
· Complies with 2010 ADA guidelines
· DSP audio processing settings for voice and music
• The matched PPA receivers insure Hi-Fidelity audio reception for those with hearing challenges.

We also need to consider that FM based ALS’s (Assistive Listening Solutions) are not always optimal for clear audio reception when it comes to BYOLD (Bring You Own Listening Device), like a smart phone with FM receiver. The reception may not be clear enough depending on the ‘tuning’ accuracy and amplification capability of the personal device.

For situations where the majority of the Hard of Hearing will have their own listening device — a WIFI based ALS should be considered.

WAVECAST WIFI based Assistive Listening Solution

WaveCAST is a Wi-Fi platform designed for settings where high-quality sound is required for streaming audio in real-time to smartphones and tablets. With WaveCAST the listener downloads the WaveCAST application form their App store. It will automatically receive the WaveCAST transmission once connected to the school’s WIFI. WaveCAST WIFI based also offers a more discreet Assisted Listening Solution as only those that are connected to the venue’s WIFI (which could be password protected) can ‘tune in’. What about users that do not have smartphones or do not want to download the app? WaveCast receivers are also available, so they can be provided to individuals who are not able to listen via the app.

Features and benefits of the WaveCAST range of WIFI based ALS’s.

· Ideal for small to medium venues
· Easy to install
· Integrates fully with existing sound systems
· Listeners can sit anywhere
• Patrons download the listening app onto their own device and use their own headphones.
· Cost-effective
· Complies with 2010 ADA guidelines
· DSP audio processing settings for voice and music

FM / Wi-Fi Hybrid Solutions
Want the best of both worlds? The FM Plus system (coming in 2019) from Williams Sound is the world’s first hybrid transmitter able to broadcast FM and Wi-Fi audio simultaneously. With FM+, the customer gets both for little more than the cost of an FM-only solution. Students listen with either an FM receiver or their own smartphone using a free app downloaded from the App store on iOS or Android. In addition to this flexibility, the FM Plus system offers exceptionally clear audio over both FM and Wi-Fi using onboard digital signal processing.

Considerations for FM / Wi-Fi Hybrid Assistive Listening Systems in Worship Settings:
• Very high quality audio (on-board digital signal processing)
• Listeners have the choice of using their own Wi-Fi device (such as a smartphone) or a venue provided FM receiver
• Easy to install (no need to retrofit facility)
• Patrons using the smartphone option will need to download and install an iOS or Android app.

Hi – I’m Will and I started this company to help you find the best assistive listening equipment for you.

If you need a sales quote, are looking for an audio product you don’t see on the site, or have any other questions just drop me a line

I usually respond within 30 minutes during business hours (EST).

Call: (877) 817 0733

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