ADA, IEC, and Building Standards
ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010), Assistive Listening Systems
There are 3 types of wireless technologies that meet the ADA standards: hearing loops, IR, and FM. Hearing loops are preferred by consumers. In contrast, Wi-Fi audio or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) does NOT meet ADA standards.
"In each assembly area* where audible communication is integral to the use of the space, an assistive listening system shall be provided." These are the minimum standards; an organization is encouraged to go beyond these minimum standards to meet the needs of people with hearing loss and the organization's mission.
*"A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes [‘religious entities’ are exempt from ADA]. Assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, public meeting rooms, public hearing rooms, legislative chambers, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, dinner theaters, concert halls, centers for the performing arts, amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums, grandstands, or convention centers." (Source: ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010), Section 219)
Summary, Assistive Listening Systems, ADA Sections 216, 219, 703, 706, and signage. HLAA. Link (4 pages, pdf)
Overview, ADA. Loop Colorado. Link (1 page, pdf)
IEC Standards (International Electrotechnical Commission) for hearing loop installation to reliably deliver the and optimal sound quality and guarantee positive experiences for users:
IEC 60118-4:2014+AMD1:2017 CSV, Consolidated version. Electroacoustics - Hearing aids - Part 4: Induction-loop systems for hearing aid purposes - System performance requirements. Link (website with full standards).
It's important that venues require installers to provide a "certificate of conformity."
City of Ft. Collins CO, Building Design Standards
Ft. Collins City Building Design Standards Excerpt (1 page, pdf)
It is very helpful to clearly state the hearing loop expectations up front during pre-design/construction.
"In any space over 1,000 square feet that is open for public meeting and wired with a public address system, a review should be completed to see if hearing loops should be added to the scope of the project. If loops are needed, an outside contractor will be brought in by the design team and/or general contractor for the design and installation."
Hearing Loop Signage
Signage needs to be easily seen, and is often placed on a wall inside and/or outside of a room, or on a counter desktop (see ADA standards). Hopefully someday, these signs will be recognized as easily as accessible parking signs.
In addition, it is very helpful to include signage on webpages, in program materials, bulletins, and newsletters. Download signage graphics on our free tools webpage
For nationally and internationally hearing loop signs, they are commonly blue in color and use the symbol "T" in the lower right corner.
Other signs (without a "T" symbol) could be for any type of assistive listening system (FM system, hearing loop, or Infrared/IR system).
However, it is VERY helpful to let people know specifically what type of system is available so they can prepare.