Accessibility Accommodations Assistive Listening Device Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loops & Telecoils Hearing Loss

Public Outings: Using Assistive Listening Systems

Let’s take a look at the assistive listening systems we used this past year, in public and private settings. Also known as HATS, Hearing Assistive Technology. 

Hearing devices (hearing aids, cochlear implants, personal amplifiers) work best within a 6 foot range. To understand this best, picture yourself in a 6 foot bubble. Everything in that bubble is what you’ll hear best; shuffling papers, someone coughing near you, candy wrappers. If it’s outside that bubble, the sounds will be more faint and less clear compared to what’s inside the bubble.  Now imagine you’re 12 feet away from the speaker and you’re in an audience, it’s going to be tough to understand what’s being said.  That’s why there’s assistive listening systems, to bridge that gap. They put the speaker in your ear. 

A Variety of Assistive Listening Systems

It is a requirement by Title III of the ADA to have public assistive listening. Assistive listening systems are used for inclusion for many people with hearing loss. *Note: Once hearing loss reaches a certain level, captions equal inclusion as well. 

Her is a short lesson on typical assistive listening systems by a hard of hearing user: 

  • Infrared System – Sound sent via an infrared light beam. A source sends a signal to a receiver. Example: Infrared headphones. Chelle used infrared headphones in a movie theater several years ago. The red dot on the back of her head in a dark movie theater felt conspicuous. (It’s not her favorite device for public assistive listening.) It involves picking up a device and returning it after.
2022 SayWhatClub Con in Nashville. Chelle helping to lay the loop.
  • FM system – Yeah, kind of like the FM radio stations. It sends a signal via radio waves. This is the most common public assistive listening system. This too involves picking up a receiver and returning it. Use this in place of headphones.
    • Note: Neckloops send a magnetic signal to hearing aids and are used in place of headphones for hearing aid and cochlear implant (CI) users. The hearing aids must have a telecoil program. Hearing through a neckloop is clearer for hearing aid/CI users.
  • Hearing loops, AKA  induction loops are a copper wire is laid in the floor in various arrays. It sends a magnetic signal to the telecoil in hearing aids and CIs. To hearing aid and CI users who try it, it typically becomes their preferred assistive listening system. The sound is clear and there are no devices to pick up or drop off. We talk about hearing loops in this late 2021 post
Newer Assistive Listening Systems
  • Wi-Fi systems – Sound is delivered via Wi-Fi to a personal device. A smartphone is used in combination with an app, delivering sound without the need of picking or dropping off a device. If the user doesn’t have a smartphone, receivers are available. Here’s a blog post LINK by Hearing Loss LIVE! We talked to Listen Technologies in early 2022. They manufacture a Wi-Fi listening system.
  • Auracast – an up and coming system that works via Bluetooth. In the past, Bluetooth only worked with personal devices. It’s going to start being a public option. It works the same way as the Wi-Fi system, using an app on a smartphone. We have not been able to try this system yet.

For more information, check out the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association (ASHA) with this LINK

To find out what assistive listening systems are near you, use the ALD Locator at this LINK.

Personal Experiences with Assistive Listening in 2023

Hearing loss conventions are a great place to try out assistive listening systems. At the SayWhatClub this year in Vancouver, we were in the loop! Both Julia and Chelle used and liked the hearing loop. It turns out, Julia as a hearing person needed to be in the loop too. Attendees at hearing loss conventions can be noisy, we don’t hear ourselves fully.  We think we’re being quiet but we aren’t. 

New Technology

At the convention, they had a Roger Dynamic SoundField by Phonak. 

Chelle: I was so excited to try it! In the past, I’ve used a Roger Pen and now I have a Roger On. Both items have been awesome. I just recently learned the SoundField and here was my chance to try it.

As soon possible, I asked them to connect me to the SoundField. They didn’t know how. The next day, they came to me and said they figured it out. They put a device near my Phonak hearing aids and…nothing. “Sorry, they won’t connect.” Bummer. (After note: They didn’t offer me a receiver.)

When I got home, I went to my audiologist to find out if I needed an extra program or what. She called in and found out my hearing aids don’t connect to the SoundField. Double bummer.  This was a disappointing experience.

In the Loop

Julia: On the drive home from the 2022 SayWhatClub con, it dawned on Chelle that we should have looped my CART station because I was struggling with the HoH background chatter. At the 2023 con, I asked if I could sit in the loop and worked with the installers to set up my workstation inside of it. I used a receiver and it was awesome! Those that wanted to visit in the crowd could and I could focus on the presenter. 

The second day of the con, the loop guys asked if I would try the new sound system they had, the Roger SoundField System.  I used headphones with a receiver. There was a lot of static and interference for me. I used the headphones so I’m not sure if it was the receiver or the tower. The loop worked much better. After the first presenter I went back to the loop. 

Wi-Fi Assistive Listening at Home
The cat with a far, far away look.

Chelle:  I still using the Listen Everywhere at home (now called Wi-Fi Streaming). While using it, I can hear so many different background sounds I don’t normally hear. Over Thanksgiving weekend I had my Star Wars marathon. It was nice to hear sounds I haven’t heard since I was a kid. I like hearing the hear hydraulics when C3PO walked, water splashing, the distinctive vehicle/ship sounds and more.

This works through the Listen Everywhere app and any sound that goes through my phone gets streamed into my ears. Anything streamed can be managed further through hearing aid apps. There is a very slight delay with the process. If I don’t shut off the ambient/environmental noise through my app, I get an echo. When fully immersed in my movies, I don’t want environmental noise. With a severe hearing loss, I can’t hear two things at the same time. I need focused sound. I am able to use lipreading, even with the slight delay. The slight delay doesn’t disrupt that ability. 

My living room has a small hearing loop. There’s no delay in sound but a slight hum that intrudes on my listening experience. While in the loop, I have to stay in the living room to benefit from it. With the Wi-Fi system, I can travel all over the house and still hear everything. We will soon take down the loop because I don’t use it anymore.

Wi-Fi Listening in Public
Julia, blond hair and  eyes staring right. She has her cowboy hat in the air. She's wearing a maroon tank top with a a white skull , the skulls hair is tied up with a yellow print bandana.
Julia with the vibrating headphones provided by SkullCandy.

Julia: You’ve met our friend McClain (LINK). This summer at a local event, he asked if we would try new headphones from SkullCandy (LINK) that vibrate to the beat of the music. We used the Listen Everywhere app to stream the sound through the headphones. What a unique experience to have the music streamed to our ears and pick up the beat via vibration! There were a few glitches, as with any new product, but this is a great way to feel the music.

Assistive Listening symbol. Blue background. A white line going from the top right corner to the bottom left. An outline of a white ear in the middle. Lower right has T representing telecoils and hearing loops.
Assistive Listening Symbol. The symbol can also appear without the T in the lower corner. The T indicates there is a hearing loop available.

That’s our wrap for 2023 on assistive listening technology.

Many people don’t know about this public option. If you are attending an event soon, look for the assistive listening symbol. Find out what they have and use it! Try them all, find your favorite assistive listening system. The more of us using and requesting them, the more say we’ll have. If the receiver isn’t maintained, tell them. You might have to go back a few times to “train” them. There is no ADA police. It’s up to us. Together we can make a difference. 

Learn More

Listen Technologies talked about Bluetooth technology in their blog last week: Bluetooth Classic vs. Bluetooth Low Energy: What’s the Difference? Here is the LINK

Accommodations ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) Assistive Listening Device Cochlear Implants Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Hearing Technology Lipreading

Hearing Loss Gifts 2023

What are meaningful gifts for people with hearing loss? Gifts that give more access to communication! There’s a variety of ways to improve communication outcomes:

  • Learning new communication strategies. Hearing aids are a great start, but more is needed to be successful with hearing loss.
  • Technology, there’s more than ever available.
  • Services. Being able to point people to services is also a gift. 
New Communication Strategies

Do you feel like you’ve lost your voice along with your hearing? You can find it again through lipreading strategies.

Are you frustrated because your HoH partner never seems to ‘hear’ you? Improving communication is a gift for you too. 

Julia wearing her lip shaped pink glasses and a    shawl with red and pink lips draped over her shoulders.

Lipreading classes improve day to day living with hearing loss. With hearing loss, we talk like anyone else, but we lose the receptive end of communication. Hearing aids help but even with them, we can feel lost. More rehabilitation is needed. We can learn new ways to “hear” using the visual and lines of logic. Our lipreading classes teach the tools and strategies behind lipreading, then reinforce them.

It doesn’t stop there. The people in our day to day lives need to understand the changes in communication style also. It takes two people to make communication happen. If you’re the hearing person in the equation, you will learn valuable communication skills in our classes. You will better understand your hard of hearing (HoH) significant others. Even if your HoH other is in denial, there are things you can do to improve communication.

Chelle with her red lip shaped glasses on.
Chelle with her lip shaped glasses on.

We have a “buy one, get one free” registration. Bring a family member or a friend.  In December, our 2024 classes will go for  2023 prices, $50. We have 4 levels of lipreading classes available. Read about them by clicking this LINK. The Lipreading Concepts and Lip Shapes LIVE classes are available on video to watch without waiting and at your leisure. Use this LINK for the video classes. 

Class dates and time for 2024 will be revealed soon!

Hearing Loss Education Packages

Empower yourself, or someone you love, learning more about hearing loss through Hearing Loss LIVE!’s captioned video presentations (or podcasts) and workbooks. The PDF workbooks are inclusive for both HoH and hearing partners. They have personal stories, hearing loss how-to, resources, links to pertinent information and journal space to explore hearing loss. Individual topics are:

  • Grief: Hearing Loss & Healing – No one talks about the grief and how to come back from it. We did it with Gloria Pelletier, L.C.S.W., L.I.S.A.C.
  • Learning to be Comfortable with Hearing Loss:  Mostly this means being comfortable with managing your hearing loss & being proactive.
  • Communication Boundaries: Healthy communication includes better communication boundaries. Gloria Pelletier, joins us again.
  • Inclusion with Hearing Loss: We want to be included like anyone else. There are things we can do to ensure inclusion.
  • One especially for our Hearing Partners: Communication is a two way process. We provide a blueprint to help change communication habits. 
  • Hearing Loss Accommodations – Behind the Scenes: By learning what happens behind the scenes, we can make the most of our accommodations.
  • Our Hearing Loss Tribe: You don’t have to feel alone in this mess. There are others, reach out.

Each package is $15, or pick any 5 for $50. Here’s the LINK to pick up your package.

Hearing Loss Education Packages include workbooks and videos with captions. 3 workbooks shown,, the top one is showing Being Comfortable with Hearing Loss

We’ve gone over some technology the past month, remote microphones being a big one. Hearing aids and cochlear implants have companion remote microphones. They expand the hearing range. This would make a great gift for both of you! Visit our blog earlier this month at this LINK.


We also think ASR (automatic speech recognition) apps are another handy gift for those with hearing loss. They help a lot when people wear masks and we can’t lipread. Hearing Loss LIVE! used ASR on a bus tour while at the SayWhatClub convention last year. We need all the tools we can get! 

Android operating systems and iPhones have ASR captions built in. Go to Settings to Accessibility and then look for Hearing. You will find a free version of captions there, plus other settings that might help. If you’re looking for something more, try Otter, a transcript app that work for our purposes. Or, try AVA which has a group chat feature.

Note: ASR works best with wifi and/or strong signal. It can also have a hard time hearing in noisy environments.

black bone conduction headphones on a white counter. Hearing Loss gift idea.
Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction headphones are amazing and many hearing people enjoy them because their ear canals are left open to hear environmental noise. While at a few health fairs this past fall, we saw several hard of hearing people using bone conduction headphones. When asked, they said the bone conduction headphones were cheaper than more expensive earbuds/headphones/hearing aids. They were happy with they could hear phone calls through them. 

Bone conduction will help people with conductive hearing loss the most. Chelle’s son is deaf in one ear due to middle ear issues. When he tried the bone conduction headphones, he said, “It was trippy hearing sound through that ear again!”

These headphones can help those with sensorineural losses too. Chelle has a profound loss in the high frequencies. She used bone conduction headphones for listening to music in the car during long trips, before her new hearing aids. (She’s too HoH to hear from car speakers.)  While using earplugs, she could hear music very well compared to regular earbuds. Without earplugs, not so well. It is another way to get sound to the inner ear; hearing or hard of hearing.


A gift may be as easy as pointing someone to the right services. We’ll list a few. 

  • State Relay Phone Programs – All 50 states should have a Relay Phone Program. Services vary state to state. As an example, Relay Utah is a great program that offers people who are low income a variety of phones designed for those with hearing loss with tone control, volume control, captions and other features. Other state programs like Relay Colorado have Relay Conference Captioning. This enables people with hearing loss to participate in conference phone calls with real-time captioning. Do a web search to find your state Relay program. Example: “Maine Relay phone program.”
  • JAN : The Jobs Accommodation Network – JAN helps employers and employees find solutions to help in the workplace for people with disabilities. Got a work issues? Get in touch with JAN.
  • Diglo – A catalog full of devices to help people with hearing loss and deafness. Phones, alerting devices, assistive listening devices, over the counter (OTC) hearing aids and more.
Hearing Things, a Game!

How about helping family members understand what hearing loss is like? Our friend Jodi at Relay Utah found this game: Hearing Things: The Lip-Reading Challenge Game. She used it at a health fair with a ‘games’ theme. It was a lot of fun, she said. It did help people understand the challenges for lipreading…and what hearing loss is like.

More Gifts for People with Hearing Loss

That’s a good start for anyone on your shopping list who has hearing loss. You can also take a look at Hearing Loss LIVE!’s past two years with suggestions as well. 

  • The 2021 Gift List LINK is all about HoH gifts.
  • The 2022 Gift List LINK, is at the bottom of the post.
Communication Access Connections Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loss

A Hearing Loss Thanksgiving

Hearing Loss LIVE! wishes everyone a good Thanksgiving with whatever works for you.

Orange background.
White font that says Happy Thanksgiving Day. 
The hearing loss live logo of 3 leaves.
White font: Let's take the time to appreciate the big and little blessings we have. 23 November.

These large gatherings aren’t easy. If you’re doing it, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re brave enough to swim in noise and cheer and the chance you’ll miss the punchline. It’s full of challenges. 

A light blue/gray background. Gray font that says: This is what deaf or hard of hearing people when hearing people speak to them. It is hard work.
Half of the letters are scrubbed out to make it difficult to read.

However, here’s to what you do catch and who you can connect with. The ones who make the effort are gold.

Communication Access Communication Practices Emotions, Psychological Stress Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Self Advocacy

Hearing Loss & the Holidays: Listening Fatigue

Holiday fatigue is a real thing and there is listening fatigue with hearing loss. Put the two together and we have a double whammy. While at noisy holiday gatherings, people who have normal hearing have the ability to filter out background noise and zero in on speech. You may have heard of this as the “cocktail party effect”.  Those of us with hearing loss have a harder time filtering noise so we have the “cocktail party problem”, also called “cocktail party deafness”. Conversation in a noisy environment is exhausting!

Assistive Listening Device Cochlear Implants Communication Access Communication with Family Hard of Hearing Hearing Aids Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Hearing Aids & Cochlear Implants: Remote Microphone Technology

Let’s talk about remote microphones that work with hearing aids and cochlear implants.  Hearing aids are better than ever but they still have limitations. Cochlear implants are great yet they too have their limitations. What are the limitations?