For the estimated one in ten Americans with significant hearing loss, traditional hearing aids often are not enough to aid understanding. This is especially true in schools where nearby chatter, paper shuffling, and restless limbs can obscure the teacher's voice in the classroom, not to mention the gym, playground, and assembly hall. ADA-compliant assistive listening systems (ALS) can be a solution, providing direct-to-listener, interference-free, clear reception in a restrictive teaching environment.
Wide-area ALSs are mandated under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which states that these systems be provided in public places unless a provider can prove it's an undue burden. In strict compliance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, ALS receivers must be provided at no cost for 4 percent of new seats and where audio-amplification systems have been replaced since 1992. Such receivers may also be required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and satisfy the requirements of a least restrictive educational environment. Research shows that those who are hard of hearing require a volume increase of about 15 to 25 dB to understand at the same level as those with normal hearing. An ALS can help hearing-challenged students achieve this gain for themselves without making it too loud for others or requiring a restrictive learning environment.
For school administrators aiming to comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design while cost-effectively addressing the needs of hearing-challenged students, ADA compliant ALS devices such as those now offered by Anchor Audio can facilitate better understanding of speech, music, and other sounds during lectures, assemblies, or verbal instruction in and out of the classroom. New multi-purpose ALS devices offered by Anchor Audio wirelessly link listeners directly to the sound source, helping to overcome background noise and distance.
The direct-to-listener connection these products offer can also negate echo, poor acoustics, or other deficiencies of the educational environment. The goal is less student frustration and distractibility, along with more understanding and on-task behavior. This can result in fewer special education referrals.
Unlike infrared designs, Anchor Audio's new ALS offerings are unaffected by lighting conditions. Because they operate on 16 UHF channels, any interference from local broadcasting sources can be eliminated by flipping a dial on the microphone and receiver and changing channels. The multiple channels also enable a single ALS receiver to be used for multiple purposes including assistive listening, audio description, language translation, and allowing stage sound and audio description to be heard simultaneously.
Anchor Audio's basic assistive listening package includes one rack mountable transmitter and four belt pack receivers with ear bud headphones delivered in a transportable carrying box. An unlimited number of receivers can be used at one time. If you have two presentations at the same time in the same building, it is simple to set the first group to one channel and the second group to another channel. The only requirement is that all members of each group are on the same channel.
Teacher-student groups, whether traveling or coordinating with others, will also find an assisted listening package that meets their needs. The TOUR-60 package, for instance, includes one belt pack transmitter with headband microphone, six belt pack receivers, and ear bud headphones. This solution for one-way communication helps cut unwanted background noise.