Most people who work in the construction industry are aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (commonly referred to as the ADA) and the general impacts it has on how buildings are constructed. On September 15, 2010 the Department of Justice published a series of revised regulations. One section of these updates deals with requirements for ADA Assistive Listening Systems for persons who have hearing disabilities. It’s a subtle change, but a big deal.

The standard ADA Standard defines an Assistive Listening System as an amplification system utilizing transmitters, receivers, and coupling devices to bypass the acoustical space between a sound source and a listener by means of induction loop, radio frequency, infrared, or direct wired equipment. The new standard applies for all new construction started after March 15, 2012. While there are many details of things that have been modified in the new standard here are several of the most important to be aware of:

  1. In each assembly area where audible communication is integral to the use of the space an assistive listening system shall be provided. The definition of “assembly area” covers pretty much any place where a group of people might get together and is not tied to the occupancy of the room as in previous standards.
  2. Assistive Listening is now basically required anywhere there is amplified sound.
  3. The standard calls for a scaled quantity of receivers, not 4% of the seating as was previously directed. In larger facilities this reduces the quantity of devices that were previously required.
  4. The new ADA Standard defines “hearing aid compatible receivers” as a device that will interface with telecoils through a neckloop. The standard goes further and requires that at least 25% of receivers for the space must be hearing aid compatible.

If you have questions about how to successfully implement an ADA Assistive Listening System, give us a call. ABD Engineering & Design has designed hearing loop systems and ADA Assistive Listening Systems for many projects, and since we do not sell any of these systems, we offer objective recommendations focused solely on your needs.

ABD Engineering and Design

ABD Engineering and Design is one of North America’s leading independent acoustical consulting and AV design firms, serving clients across the United States and Canada, as well as other international markets from offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. Our specialized acoustical engineering and AV design practices help architects, building owners, engineers, facility directors, and municipalities design spaces, environments, and systems for optimal acoustical and audiovisual performance. Our consulting practice areas specialize in all aspects of architectural acoustics, environmental and industrial noise and vibration control, and audiovisual systems design.

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