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ALDs and Movies: Missed Opportunities and How to Overcome Them

ALDs and Movies: Missed Opportunities and How to Overcome Them
Steve Barber
July 26, 2004

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are fairly common in America's movie theaters, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although significant progress has been made, problems and opportunities remain.

What's the Problem?

Even though the majority of movie theaters now offer ALDs for their customers, very few people with hearing loss use or know about ALD equipment. Unfortunately, many people with hearing aids cannot "couple" their hearing aids to the available ALDs as they have not purchased "FM" or "direct audio input" or "telecoil" options for their hearing aids. Sometimes, people with "compatible" hearing aids don't know how to patch together the ALD and the hearing aids. So the bottom line is, the equipment is usually available to satisfy the letter of the law (the ADA), but the practical knowledge is lacking.

What's the Goal?

The goal is to help hard of hearing people hear. This can be accomplished in movie theaters and accomplishing this goal has many benefits....more hard of hearing people would attend movies, ALDs would become a good investment for movie theaters, hard of hearing people would understand the benefit of ALDs in other venues (houses of worship, restaurants, automobiles, airplanes, meetings etc.), hearing professionals and hard of hearing people would understand, order and use options currently available for hearing aids (FM systems, direct audio input, telecoils etc).

steve barber

Steve Barber

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