Hearing Loops Must Comply With ADA

NOTE: ADA Standards have been revised effective March 15, 2012. Is your venue or business ADA compilant?
The 50 person minimum occupancy and fixed seating requirements no longer apply….Don’t get fined if a complaint is filed!

Don’t let your customers walk away without “understanding” what you said!

“This isn’t just about disability rights — it’s about good customer service,” Janice Schacter Lintz, head of the Hearing Access Program, a group in New York promoting the loops

The American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 clearly specifies hearing or hearing loss as a disability as outlined in the following excerpt:

Sec. 12102. Definition of disability

As used in this chapter:

(1) Disability

The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual

(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3)).

(2) Major Life Activities

(A) In general

For purposes of paragraph (1), major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

(3) Regarded as having such an impairment

For purposes of paragraph (1)(C):

(A) An individual meets the requirement of “being regarded as having such an impairment” if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.

(B) Paragraph (1)(C) shall not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.

ADA regulations for Titles II and III have been revised. These regulations adopted revised, enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design “2010 Standards” or “Standards”. These Standards go in to effect on March 15, 2012. Scoping Requirements for Assistive Listening Devices are set forth in Section 219. Communication Elements and Features for Assistive Listening Devices are outlined in Section 706.

Hearing Loops clearly conform with ADA requirements for hearing disabilities. FM and Infrared systems also conform with ADA requirements, but are rarely used because of having to wear obvious headsets and the sanitary concerns for those headsets.

The 2010 Standards now require that 25% of headsets for FM and Infrared systems must be hearing aid compatible, such as neckloops for use with t-coils in hearing aids. For those facilities with hearing loops installed, hearing aid compatible receivers are not required to be provided.

Small businesses may be eligible for a Disabled Access Credit on their tax returns for improving access for the hard of hearing by installing hearing loops. Form 8826 is the appropriate form so contact your tax adviser to determine if this is appropriate for your small business.

For more information about ADA requirements and how loops comply, please contact us.

We are certainly not proponents of litigation. However, if a venue is clearly in violation of ADA requirements and refuses to address the issue, a complaint can be filed.

How to File a Complaint:

Complaints about violations of title I (employment) by units of State and local government or by private employers should be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Call 800 – 669 – 4000 (voice) or 800 – 669 – 6820 (TTY) to reach the field office in your area.

Complaints about violations of title II by units of State and local government or violations of title III by public accommodations and commercial facilities (private businesses and non – profit service providers) should be filed with the Department of Justice.

Title II complaint form | Instructions for filing a Title III complaint

Please send complaints to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Disability Rights Section – NYAV
Washington, DC 20530

You may also call the ADA Information Line to ask about filing a complaint with the Department of Justice and to order forms that can assist you in providing information about the violation.