ADA 25th Anniversary – Hearing Assitive Tech Re-Boot

ADA 25th Anniversary – Hearing Assitive Tech Re-Boot

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA initiative laid the groundwork that has provided accessible accommodations to countless Americans in both the work place and post-secondary education throughout this past quarter century. ADA constructs provide accommodation to a wide range of disabilities and amongst the most prevalent is hearing loss. Indeed, based on research from Johns Hopkins Medicine, 48 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss. Of that 48 million, 60% of individuals with hearing loss are either in the work force or education setting. In short, there is a huge number of individuals that can benefit from assistive hearing accommodations. The spirit of the ADA is that of innovation. In that same spirit it’s time to revise our current picture of hearing accommodations for the classroom. While accommodation certainly can take more than one form, let’s focus now on assistive listening devices, or FM systems. Traditional analog and early digital FM systems have been around for decades and have been a revelation for understanding in challenging listening situations. That being said, these systems are large in size, lack clear-stable sound transmission, lack noise reduction capabilities, and have an unattractive appearance, amongst other downsides. To make matters worse, you had to be a relative expert to get the FM systems working effectively. In my experience many accommodations coordinators are still relying upon this dated FM technology. In the past years, exciting new FM technology standards have been developed. Amongst the advantages are adaptive noise reduction, faster transmission times, fewer dropouts, smaller-modern design, no channel planning and unprecedented connectivity to other devices....