New Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Hearing Assistance

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In 2010, the US government modified the standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to public assembly spaces and the quantities of receivers and hearing aid compatible receivers.  All Assembly Areas are required to comply with the ADA.

So what is an Assembly Area by definition?  According to Section 219.2 of the 2010 ADA, an Assembly Area is:  A building or facility, or portion thereof, used for the purpose of entertainment, educational or civic gatherings, or similar purposes. For the purposes of these requirements, assembly areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, lecture halls, courtrooms, public meeting rooms, public hearing rooms, legislative chambers, motion picture houses, auditoria, theaters, playhouses, dinner theaters, concert halls, centers for the performing arts, amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums, grandstands, or convention centers.

So where does that leave houses of worship or churches?

In a technical sense, houses of worship are considered private facilities, and are exempt from some requirements related to ADA compliance.  With respect to construction and renovation, houses of worship are not exempt.  When it comes to the addition of Assistive Listening Systems (ALS), things get a little bit grey.  Houses of worship are not required to meet the ADA standards with respect to Assistive Listening, at this time.  But let me ask a question.  Do you really want to exempt yourself from a requirement that might cause someone with hearing loss to be excluded from participation in your worship service?

We have several resources to help you understand the requirements of the new standards. This table is taken from Section 706 Assistive Listening Systems of the 2010 ADA Standards and provides an overview of the number of receivers required based on the seating capacity. It also shows how many receivers must be hearing-aid compatible.

Table 219.3 Receivers for Assistive Listening Systems

Capacity of Seating
in Assembly Area
Minimum Number of
Required Receivers
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Minimum Number of
Required Receivers Required
to be Hearing-aid Compatible
(using Listen LA-166)
50 or less
2
2
51 to 200
2, plus 1 per 25 seats
over 50 seats*
2
201 to 500
2, plus 1 per 25 seats
over 50 seats*
1 per 4 receivers*
501 to 1000
20, plus 1 per 33 seats
over 500 seats*
1 per 4 receivers*
1001 to 2000
35, plus 1 per 50 seats
over 1000 seats*
1 per 4 receivers*
2001 and over
55 plus 1 per 100 seats
over 2000 seats*
1 per 4 receivers*
*Or fraction thereof
 
Here are links to other valuable resources:

http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm

2010 Changes to Assistive Listening Systems

Part of developing an effective worship is including others and allowing them to connect with God and with all elements of the worship experience.  We have systems that comply with the ADA for all venue sizes and that start at just over $700 for smaller venues.  Please let us know how we can be of further assistance on this topic.  We're here to help in any way we can.