Accessibility: Using hearing augmentation systems

Hearing aid technology is very effective in one-on-one situations where there is only one source of sound at a time. People who use hearing aids often find it very difficult, however, to hear in a group situation such as a meeting or conference, or where there is background noise. In these situations, a hearing augmentation system will allow a hearing aid user to hear much better and to participate effectively in the event.

Some public venues have hearing augmentation systems installed. Try to find a venue that has a system (often referred to as a “hearing loop”) installed. If the venue does not have an installed system you may need to hire a portable system. If someone registers for the event and requests use of a hearing augmentation system contact them directly to identify the best way to proceed.

There are three types of hearing augmentation system in use.

  1. The audio frequency induction loop (hearing loop) system where hearing aid T switches can be used, or receivers provided to those without a T switch on their hearing aids.
  2. The frequency modulation (FM) system where individual receivers are worn by users to receive radio waves (i.e. a FM transmitter / receiver system).
  3. The infra-red transmitter/receiver system, where individual receivers are worn by users to receive infra-red beam by a direct line of sight with the speaker).

Generally the hearing loop system is preferred for events such as conferences or large workshops where there are formal presenters and questions form people in the audience.

The following checklist provides a series of steps to follow in booking and using a hearing augmentation system effectively.

Checklist: Booking and using hearing augmentation systems

Have you:

  • Discussed the preferred system with any likely attendees who use hearing aids or with Hearing Link Tasmania?
  • Booked as early as possible? Contact Hearing Link Tasmania.
  • Clarified the booking cancellation policy to ensure you know the last date for cancellation without payment?
  • Ensured the position of the seating for the person using the hearing system is appropriate for the system being used? For example, if the person is using a personal hand-held system, they would need to be close to the speaker. If using a hearing loop and the area covered by the loop is limited, the area of coverage of the loop should be identified and seating reserved.
  • Tested the system before the event begins and ensure someone with technical knowledge on the use of the system is available throughout the event?
  • Briefed presenters and participants on the use of the hearing system and the need to ensure every person speaking (including any person asking questions from the audience) is using a microphone at all times?
  • Briefed the person conducting the event to ensure that there is only one person speaking at a time?

This checklist is one of a series that support the Guidelines for Accessible Events.

Download the Checklist Using hearing augmentation systems (PDF, 260.78KB)