What is Assistive Listening?
Assistive listening technology for hearing loss works by capturing a sound source and transmitting it directly to a receiver that in-turn delivers it directly to the user’s ear, with minimal background noise, interference or distortion.
What are the different types of technology?
There are currently three main assistive listening technologies for commercial applications Hearing Loops, Radio Frequency and Infrared. Each technology has its pros and cons; what may work really well in one type of environment, but may not be suitable for another application.
Which technology shall I use?
Dependant on the environment and situation the type of technology required will vary. We still advocate that where fixed installations are required that hearing loops are the preferred technology of choice. Where this is not possible or where hearing loop installation may be considered invasive then our Infrared and Radio Frequency technology provide an exceptional alternative for other situations. Audio over WiFi can also be used in circumstances where the user is expected to bring their own device, although this is more frequently used for multi-channel entertainment purposes.
How do they work?
Hearing loops function by creating an alternating magnetic field at audio frequencies which provide an input signal for a Telecoil enabled hearing aid, cochlear implant or hand held receiver.
Williams assisted listening solutions like Infrared works by sending an audio signal to an Infrared receiver which turns the signal into audio via DSP (Digital Signal Processing). Our UK Radio Frequency uses a microphone line in to send an audio signal to the radio transmitter which then broadcasts a 863 MHz radio signal which is then picked up by the receiver.
Where can they used?
Our technology provides solutions for an array of different environments and services a multitude of different needs and requirements. Our technology can be used within corporate, tourist, cinema, theatre, Leisure & sport, retail, government, stadia, transport, OEM, education, healthcare and entertainment sectors.
Why should we provide them?
Providing Assistive Listening technology provides a huge benefit to people with hearing difficulties and allows them to enjoy the same audio experience. The spending power of disabled people is very large, the aptly titled ‘Purple Pound’ is estimated to be up to £212 billion. Providing these systems also helps to comply with the Equality Act of 2010 and can assist with complying with UK disability access law.
What is the UK Equality Act of 2010?
Coming in in 2010 the Equality Act replaced the Disability Discrimination Act and means that disabled people should be treated equally and thus protected from discrimination.
“Service providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers. There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format, an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service).”
You can read more about the legal requirements on the Disability Rights UK website.
Other Standards and Legislation
Other standards such as the he Building Regulations 2010(12), British Standards 8300 – Code of Practise, IEC60118-4 2014 all regulate the access the standard of access people should be able to access. You can read more about them here.