How to Use Assistive Listening Systems

To use an FM or Infrared (IR) system

Under the ADA to provide equal access, the entity (venue, organization, institution) provides the assistive listening system and equipment at no charge.  Equipment includes receivers, headphones, earbuds, ear hooks, and neckloops. The user doesn’t need to provide anything.

  • With hearing aids or cochlear implants that have a telecoil, borrow a receiver and neckloop. Switch to your telecoil program.
  • Without hearing aids or hearing aids without a telecoil, borrow a receiver and earbuds (or headphones)
Graphic showing person wearing neckloop wireless connection to receiver; an wireless connection from hearing device to neckloop
Receiver with neckloop. Credit: HLAA Washington State

To use a hearing loop:

  • With hearing aids or cochlear implants that have a telecoil, NO equipment is needed. Just switch to your telecoil program. This is one of many reasons why users prefer and love hearing loops! Easy!
  • Without hearing aids or hearing aids without a telecoil, borrow a receiver and earbuds (or headphones)
  • Watch a YouTube video “How to Use a Hearing Loop” (5:41) by Thunder Hearing

Turn on telecoils in hearing devices

Either push a button on your device or use your smartphone app to switch to your telecoil program. If your telecoil program hasn’t been activated by your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist, make an appointment. Resources for audiologists and hearing instrument professionals

In addition to hearing aids and cochlear implants, what other devices have telecoils? Please see telecoil FAQ

Microphone and Telecoil Adjustments

Depending on your device, you can adjust your microphone (M) and telecoil (T) settings.

  • 50% M / 50% T mixture for conversation awareness. Visit with the person next to you and still receive the sound through your telecoil.
  • 100% T to focus entirely on the speaker and decrease/sometimes eliminate loud background sounds.
  • Some smartphone hearing device apps give users the option to set your own M/T mixture, such ad 30/70.

Troubleshooting