Access Symbol – Binoculars for the Ears

Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs) are sometimes called Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs). Essentially they are amplifiers that bring sound directly into […]

Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs) are sometimes called Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs). 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.”

Why are ALSs Necessary?

Research indicates that people who are hard of hearing require a volume (signal to noise ratio) increase of about 15 to 25 dB in order to achieve the same level of understanding as people with normal hearing. An ALS allows them to achieve this gain for themselves without making it too loud for everyone else.

Can ALSs be Used by Some People who are Deaf?

YES! ALSs are used by people with all degrees of hearing loss, from mild to profound. This includes hearing aid users and cochlear implantees, as well as consumers who do not use either hearing aids or cochlear implants. Although obtaining a hearing aid or cochlear implant is probably the most important thing a person can do to cope with hearing loss, these hearing instruments have performance limitations and do not work well in all situations. ALDs are sometimes described as “binoculars for the ears” because they “stretch” hearing aids and cochlear implants, thus extending their reach and increasing their effectiveness.

Excerpted from “Benefits of Assistive Listening Systems,” by David Baquis, www.nad.org

Reprinted with permission of the National Association of the Deaf, www.nad.org

For more information about the various access symbols, or to download electronic TIFF copies, please visit the Graphic Artists Guild at www.gag.org/resources/das.php

For more information about the various access symbols, or to download electronic TIFF copies, please visit the Graphic Artists Guild at www.gag.org/resources/das.php