An assisted living system is often one of the most overlooked elements of a church sound system. However, if you fail to include assisted listening, also called hearing assist, devices in your sound setup, it may result in some of your congregation not being able to hear what is being said. In some situations, you may even be breaking the law.
Assisted Listening Devices Defined
Personal assisted listening systems let people use personal audio devices to listen to what is going on from a unique sound reinforcement system. It can be used by members of the congregation who cannot hear well, use hearing aid technology, or want additional control over the volume of the sound coming into their ears.
Modern hearing assist systems include wireless transmitters that connect to a digital signal processor or mixing console and wireless receivers, which are used to pick up the signal. Users can then connect to the personal receiver using inductive neckloops compatible with telecoil-equipped hearing aids, earbuds, or headphones.
When Personal Assisted Listening Devices Are Needed
Today’s personal assisted listening devices are not only for individuals who are medically diagnosed as being hearing impaired. Even though some people using these devices can hear what is going on in the room, they may find it difficult to understand the words being said.
Usually, this is a problem that occurs in larger areas and worship rooms. It results from where the listener chooses to sit, bad acoustics, or personal hearing factors. It is possible to hear a much clearer audio signal right from the sound system with a personal listening device. The feed is free from any acoustic interference that occurs in some churches.
Individuals who use hearing aids can benefit from these devices for similar reasons. The biggest benefit of these devices is clear, unobstructed audio that can cut through the noise and other issues that may impact a space’s sound.
Important Legal Requirements and Considerations
According to the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – it is required that all assembly areas that feature sound reinforcement are equipped with some type of assistive listening system. There are also specific requirements that include the number of personal receivers that must be present based on the facility’s seating capacity.
Some churches are exempt from meeting the ADA requirements; however, even if a church is exempt, they should consider using assistive listening devices to ensure each member of the congregation can hear what is going on.
Installation of Assistive Listening Systems
Are you ready to have an assistive listening system installed in your church or house of worship? Do you want to learn more about these systems? If so, contact the professionals. They can evaluate your location and help ensure the right system is installed based on the size of the facility and the needs of your congregation. Being informed and knowing what to expect are the best ways to ensure the desired results are achieved.