Wi-Fi based assistive listening systems, a new assistive listening option! This week, we are excited to have Listen Technologies as a guest this week. Listen Technologies creates assistive listening technology in a variety of formats. They have been supportive of the hearing loss community for many years, locally in Utah and with the SayWhatClub.
We love that Listen Technologies has a whole page dedicated to Hearing Loss Advocacy.
ADA Requirements for Assistive Listening
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in public settings. Hearing aids are great within 6 feet but after that, ALDs are needed to fill in the gap. Hearing aids and ALDs together make a better experience, when they are compatible with hearing aids. All public settings should have some sort of system; churches, movie theaters, stadiums, schools, colleges, courtrooms and more.
What assistive listening systems are in your neighborhood?
Listen Tech set up the ALD Locator (includes all brands, not just theirs) to help us find out what ALDs are available, and where. You can find venues equipped with ALDs near you, request devices be made available at your favorite venues, or submit a location that you know provides ALDs, but isn’t listed. Listen Tech doesn’t update the website, they use a community participation approach that allows anyone to add or request a listing themselves.
Hearing what I can while I can.
Chelle: I love hearing what I can, when I can even though I depend on captioning. Because my hearing loss progressive, why not soak up as much sound as I can? With assistive listening, I pick up on more sounds making hearing less tiring.
Listen Technologies is based in the Salt Lake valley and has been supportive of the hearing loss community for as long as I can remember. We worked together on the Loop Utah movement years ago. They have supported the SayWhatClub conventions. Thanks to presentations they’ve given to our HLAA chapter, I learned more about other assistive listening systems. It is super cool to try them out as they were released. I like being in the know and sharing what I learn with others. Listen has also taught us how important it is to request ALDs every time we go somewhere. It keeps employees in the know and the ALDs are better maintained which shows we are there to use them.
Connection with Assistive Listening
Technology and various strategies keep me, and others with a hearing loss, connected. There have been times when ALDs were available at meetings and not CART. I am able to use the ALD and my lipreading skills as long as speakers face me. Sound is stronger and cleaner through ALDs, cutting down background noise. Using various tools available has gotten me through quite a few situations, making me a creative communicator. With a hearing loss, we need as many backups as we can get.
Listen Tech now has an entirely new kind of assistive listening available that uses WiFi called Listen Everywhere. They let me try it and I love it. I’m a big fan of not having to pick up receivers/devices. There’s nothing to wait for, nothing to return, and no hygiene worries when I can use hearing loops and this new WiFi system. Listen Everywhere is an app on my phone and I’m in. I like it because I’m not confined to a certain area, I can go as far as the WiFi can reach and still hear.
As an example, I have a living room hearing loop. Once I step out of the living room, I lose the sound. With Listen Everywhere, I’d be able to go all over my house and still hear. Instead of pausing a movie while I go get a soda, I can let it roll and still hear all the way to the fridge and back. It’s so easy! It’s Bluetooth and telecoil compatible with using a neckloop with your phone.
Focus & Dedication to the HoH Community
Michele: I’ve met various Listen Tech Reps at HLAA conferences and SayWhatClub conventions, and they are great group of people. Their commitment to supporting the HoH is always evident, and they have been a convention sponsor for the SayWhatClub in multiple years. I’ve always loved the company’s focus and dedication for inclusion, and for providing better listening environments for people with hearing loss.
Julia: I met Listen Technologies at our HLAA Walk4Hearing in 2009 here in Salt Lake City. Not only did they sponsor the loop for the banquet room we used for the Kick Off party, they also sponsored the loop for Walk day activities. They helped the Walk committee and had a walk team to raise money and awareness too!
As a company, they focus on the needs of folks with hearing loss through assistive listening devices for inclusivity. They offer ADA training with respect to assistive listening technology. Check out their great consultant toolbox. Are you thinking about an upgrade for your venue? Check out the variety of options Listen provides and make your venue inclusive as well.
Request Assistive Listening
Conclusion: Every time you go out, look for assistive listening and request one. Business owners often say hardly anyone requests them. We need to change that. The more of us asking for it, the better systems will be maintained and updated. Make it a goal this year to try different ALDs. With more of us asking, and educating, we get the listening systems we prefer.