Loop UVA

The installation of Hearing Loop should be your first consideration when choosing an assistive listening system (ALS)*.

The following UVA accessibility professionals support and encourage the addition/installation of hearing loop (induction loop) technology as the recommended assistive listening system (ALS) for large venues, auditoriums, classrooms, reception areas, ticket counters, and other appropriate spaces throughout the Academic Grounds, athletic venues, and Health System at the University of Virginia.

  • Coordinator of Academic Accessibility
  • Director, Student Disability Access Center
  • Coordinator of Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Accessible Media

We take this position based on:

  • The national and international preference of hearing loop over other ALS technologies by those who rely on these systems for effective communication.
  • The demonstrated durability, longevity, and future viability of loop systems.
  • This technology facilitates greater compliance with national and international standards.
  • Hearing loop offers an effective and user-friendly solution for users of the system and managers of facilities where it is installed.

While hearing loop may not be appropriate for all areas, we ask that it be given first consideration when an ALS is required.


Legal Requirements

The University is required by federal law, namely the Americans with Disabilities Act provision requiring Effective Communication1, to ensure that communication with people with communication disabilities is equally effective as communication with people without disabilities. To that end, in each assembly area where audible communication is integral to the use of the space, an ALS shall be provided.2

There are basically five different ALS technologies in use today:

  • Hearing Loop (Induction Loop)
  • Frequency Modulation (FM) radio transmission
  • Infrared (IR)
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi

Each solution offers pros and cons for installation in our environment, and these are outlined below. The ADA also requires us to "give primary consideration to the choice of aid or service request by the person who has a communication disability."3 Looking at the current ALS solutions, hearing loops are preferred by 86% of individuals with hearing loss4.

Assistive Listening Systems - Pros and Cons

Select the sections below for more information on each system. A detailed description of each technology along with the pros an cons of each can be found in the IHLMA (International Hearing Loop Manufacturers Association) Comparison Document.



More Information:

*Assistive listening systems (ALS) are sometimes called assistive listening devices (ALD). Essentially they are amplifiers that bring sound directly into the ear.  They separate the sounds, particularly speech, that a person wants to hear from background noise.  They improve what is known as the “speech to noise ratio.”5

1. US Department of Justice. ADA Requirements - Effective Communication (January 31, 2014). Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.ada.gov/effective-comm.htm

2. 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. (2010, September 15).  Retrieved March 17, 2021, from https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#pgfId-1010597

3. US Department of Justice. ADA Requirements - Effective Communication (January 31, 2014)

4. The Hearing Review. Consumer Perceptions of the Impact of Inductively Looped Venues on the Utility of Their Hearing Devices. (September 24, 2014). Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.hearingreview.com/hearing-products/implants-bone-conduction/cochlear-implants/consumer-perceptions-impact-inductively-looped-venues-utility-hearing-devices

5. National Association of the Deaf. Assistive Listening Systems and Devices. Retrieved August 4, 2021 from https://www.nad.org/resources/technology/assistive-listening/assistive-listening-systems-and-devices/

(last update: 3/6/2023)