Listen Technology's Carrie Keele (opens in new tab) shares three things AV professionals need to remember when it comes to ADA compliance and stadium sound.
1. ALS is required in stadiums and arenas.
Just as accessibility is mandated for people living with physical disabilities and braille signage is required for those who are visually impaired, assistive listening is a requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as similar laws globally.
The ADA states: “An assistive listening system shall be provided in assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the space. This means that any space where people gather (a boardroom, a banquet hall, a classroom, or a movie theater) is required to have an assistive listening system. Assistive listening must cover the entire space of the venue, not just one area.” (219.2)
Note that there are certain states that use building codes that outline different standards for assistive listening than the ADA. For example, California uses the California Building Code (CBC) to define the standards for assistive listening requirements throughout the state.
2. There is a required number of assistive listening devices for stadiums and arenas.
The original ADA requirements specified that the number of assistive listening devices was 4 percent of seating capacity. Good news for stadiums, arenas, and other venues with larger seating capacities, the new requirements have been scaled to match the total occupancy of the venue.
The chart below details the number of receivers, or ALDs, required based on seating capacity. If an area has a hearing loop, hearing aid compatible receivers are not required, however they are required with other types of systems as outlined in the chart.
The total number of receivers and neck loops required can be calculated using this online tool: https://www.listentech.com/support/ada-info/ada-tools-kits/ (opens in new tab)
3. Signage is key.
“Each assembly area required by 219 to provide assistive listening systems shall provide signs informing patrons of the availability of the assistive listening system. Assistive listening signs shall comply with 703.5 and shall include the International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss complying with 703.7.2.4.” (216.10)
An important part of compliance is signage identifying the availability of ALDs. Venues are required to post signs with the international symbol of access to an assistive listening system. There are specific requirement in regards to character height, width-to-height rations, finish, contrast, and mounting location and height, so it is important to work with a vendor who is trained to understand the law and provide materials and guidance for installation.
For more on stadium and arena sound, visit https://www.avnetwork.com/features/stadium-and-arena-sound (opens in new tab).