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ADA Standards

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ADA Standards

IEC Standards for quality hearing loop installation

Fort Collins Building Standards

Hearing Loop Signage


ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Assistive Listening Systems

"International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss" symbol (aka 'blue ear') = wheelchair symbol.  At the bottom is the statement "Symbol of Communication access helps people with hearing loss the same way ramps help people with mobility issues."

Summary in non-technical language

  • If there is a PA system with microphones, there must be an assistive listening system.

  • Religious organizations are 'generally' exempt from the ADA, depending on their scope and services. But many still install an assistive listening system to include people with hearing loss. 

  • What's required (see details in 4-page summary: Assistive Listening System ADA standards)

  1. A fully working Assistive Listening System that meet the ADA: Hearing loops, FM, Infrared (IR). Wi-Fi audio does not meet ADA standards (latency concerns).

  2. A sign must be visible. Usually in the United States it is blue. The ADA includes specifications for location, size, and Braille characters.

  3. Receivers and headphones (hearing loop)

  4. Receivers, headphones, and neckloops (FM and Infrared systems)

  5. Effective communication

  • The ADA standards are minimal; an organization is encouraged to go beyond these minimum standards to meet the needs of people with hearing loss and the organization's mission.

  • Hearing loops are preferred by consumers for ease of use. If access is easy, more people will fully participate.


Key Quotes from the ADA Standards for Assembly Areas

  • In each assembly area* where audible communication is integral to the use of the space, an assistive listening system shall be provided.

  • Assistive Listening System. 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 (hearing) loop, radio frequency, infrared, or direct-wired equipment.

  • *Assembly Area. A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes. For the purposes of these requirements, 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. (includes funeral homes)

Effective Communication

Ensuring effective communication requires public and private entities to provide aids and services include a wide variety of technologies including:

  • Assistive listening systems and devices


Public Notice

Public entities are required to ensure that interested people, including people with hearing impairments, can obtain information as to the ”existence and location of accessible services, activities, and facilities.”


Malfunctioning Equipment

  • If your telecoil in your hearing aid or cochlear implant is not working, it is likely you will get it resolved with your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. However, if you cannot, the State of Colorado can help with consumer protection issues.

  • If the Assistive Listening System or device is not fully working, some options:

    • Troubleshoot. Work with the venue/organization/institution. Contact us if you need assistance for FM, infrared (IR), or hearing loops.

    • Work with and educate the owner or manager. Try to use written communication, either as initial inquiries or as follow-up. Sometimes you may need to contact someone in a supervisory position. Usually working locally is quicker for resolving problems.

    • Write a Google review.

    • File a complaint with the ADA coordinator at the business, venue, or institution.

    • File a discrimination complaint with Colorado Civil Rights Division.

    • File a discrimination complaint with the Department of Justice.


City of Fort Collins, Building Design Standards

Logo: City of Fort Collins Colorado

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."

Legislation, Rulemaking, and building standards for telecoils and construction across the country.

Legislation and Standards in Other States

International Standards for Hearing Loop Installations

Logo: IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission

IEC Standards (International Electrotechnical Commission) for hearing loop installation to reliably deliver the and optimal sound quality and guarantee positive experiences for users. Users should be able to sit anywhere and receive quality sound:

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."

Other technical standards. International Hearing Loop Manufacturers Association (IHLMA)


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 the blue (International) Wheelchair Symbol.

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

Hearing Loop sign 300x388.jpg

International hearing loop sign, with the symbol "T" in the lower right corner.


In the USA, they are commonly blue in color.

ALS 464x600 300 dpi.jpg

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 know what to expect.

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