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Staying in Tune With Assistive Listening Devices for Theaters

The sense of hearing is not a linear line. People show different levels of hearing in both ears at different frequencies. The consequences of this reality are frequently disregarded for a number of reasons, affecting sound accessibility for many. In order to improve their auditory experience when watching a movie, assistive listening devices, or ALDs, are a vital tool. 

These assistive technologies guarantee that everyone can fully enjoy shows, regardless of hearing capacity. Here is a list of the available assistive listening devices for theaters, along with some advice on how to keep up with the most recent developments.


The Evolution of Inclusive Experiences

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires theaters to provide assistive listening equipment so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy a show. 

Despite being driven by legal requirements, we’ve seen advancements in awareness and preventative actions to guarantee that everyone can fully enjoy movies. 

While some movie theaters have gone above and above the necessary criteria, others have not. Even so, advocacy has great potential, and when we work together, we can push improvements that will further improve the movie-going experiences within the community.


3 Assistive Listening Devices to Use in Theaters

Assistive listening devices for theaters come in several forms, each catering to different needs:

1. Infrared Systems 

Infrared systems use light waves to carry sound from the stage to the audience. These systems are made up of receivers that turn light into sound and transmitters that transform sound into infrared light. 

The infrared signal is picked up by audience members’ headsets, which guarantees clear audio reproduction of the performance, free from interference from other electrical equipment.


  • No Interference: Infrared signals are perfect for areas with plenty of electronic devices since they don’t interact with other electronic equipment.
  • Privacy: The theater’s containment of infrared signals prevents sound from escaping the building.
  • Multiple Channels: These systems are capable of supporting multiple channels, which enables the simultaneous transmission of various audio recordings (such as translations into other languages).


  • Line of sight: For best results, the receiver and transmitter must have a clear line of sight, which may be a problem if the theater’s layout blocks this view.
  • Restricted range: Compared to other technologies, infrared systems have a lesser range, which makes them more appropriate for smaller spaces.

2. FM Systems 

FM systems transmit audio to a portable FM receiver that the audience member carries. These systems reduce background noise and provide outstanding sound quality, making them especially helpful in bigger spaces. Through FM radio waves, the transmitter transmits the audio signal to receivers that are set to a certain frequency.


  • Broad range: FM systems are more appropriate for large theaters and outdoor events because of their wider range.
  • Frequencies: Theaters may provide numerous audio channels at the same time thanks to their capacity to broadcast on various frequencies.
  • Portability: FM receivers guarantee user comfort because they are small and comfortable to carry.


  • Possible Interference: While interference from other radio frequency equipment is occasionally possible for FM systems, it is usually negligible in controlled settings.
  • Battery life: Because the receivers run on batteries, users must make sure their gadgets are well-charged or have extra batteries on hand.

3. Induction Loop Systems

Using electromagnetic fields, induction loop systems send sound straight to hearing aids that have telecoils (T-coils). With the use of this technology, listening may be done seamlessly without the need for extra headsets. 

The system comprises a sound source coupled to a wire loop placed throughout the theater. The telecoil in hearing aids detects the electromagnetic field produced by the loop.


  • Straight to hearing aids: A crisp, customized audio experience is delivered by sending the sound straight to the hearing aids.
  • Ease of use: Users only need to turn their hearing aids to the T-coil setting; they don’t need to carry any extra equipment.
  • Sound quality: Excellent sound quality with less echo and background noise.


  • Installation: Induction loop installation, particularly in older structures, may be complicated and expensive.
  • Compatibility: This system may not be helpful to all users because it is only compatible with hearing aids that use T-coils.


Bonus Options: Closed Caption Theaters

Closed caption theater alternatives are an excellent substitute for individuals who are better suited for visual aids. These systems use a screen—either a portable device or one placed on the back of the seat in front—to display the speech and sound effects. 

Thanks to closed captioning, even someone with severe hearing loss may follow the plot and conversation without missing a beat. This makes them fantastic assistive listening devices for theaters.

Theaters with closed captioning offer a welcoming environment for those with different levels of hearing impairment. They are easy to order and set up prior to the performance, and they remove the need to strain to hear conversation, particularly in noisy venues.

If you need to use these services, it’s best to do some research beforehand. Information about ALDs is usually listed on the websites of many theaters. Never be afraid to ask theater employees for help setting up and using ALDs. Finally, to remain updated with new CC services and technology, subscribe to theater newsletters or follow them on social media.


ABBN Products: Enhancing Theater Experiences

ABBN has its own selection of top-notch goods to improve movie theater audio experiences. Their methods ensure that everyone in the audience can enjoy the show, regardless of their demands or the size of the venue.


Williams Sound WIR SYS 1

This ABBN Infrared Listening System uses cutting-edge infrared technology to guarantee uninterrupted, clear audio transmission. Using infrared light beams, these assistive listening devices for theaters send sound to audience members wearing receivers. It’s a great option for cinemas that want to offer great sound without worrying about interference. 

Venues with several electronic devices in use will find it especially ideal due to its purity of sound and lack of interference. Since infrared signals cannot pass through walls, infrared systems also provide privacy by keeping the audio isolated within the theater.


Williams Sound Value Pack System VP-37

The ABBN Williams Sound Value Pack System VP-37 provides better coverage and sound quality for bigger audiences. This technology broadcasts audio to receivers carried by moviegoers using FM radio waves. It is especially helpful in large areas when a broad range is required to accommodate the whole audience. 

For individuals who want strong audio assistance in big or outdoor events, the FM system is a dependable choice since it lowers background noise and delivers a clean audio signal. The flexibility of many frequency channels makes it possible to broadcast various audio streams simultaneously, such as language translations or audio descriptions for the blind.


ABBN Induction Loop Systems

For those who wear hearing aids with telecoils, ABBN’s Induction Loop System is ideal since it offers a clean and direct audio input without requiring extra headsets. This technique creates an electromagnetic field using a loop of wire that is placed throughout the theater. 

A smooth and excellent listening experience is guaranteed as the sound is sent straight to cochlear implants or hearing aids via T-coils. By removing echoes and background noise, this direct transmission produces a clear and accurate audio stream. Because users just need to switch their hearing aids to the induction loop method, it is both discrete and easy to use.

Thanks to the devices offered by ABBN, all theatergoers, regardless of hearing capacity, may have a rich and immersive audio experience. Theaters can offer an inclusive setting that meets the requirements of all patrons by using this cutting-edge technology.



When closed caption theater choices and assistive listening devices are used in theaters, all patrons will have a welcoming and delightful experience. Theatergoers can expect a crisp and immersive audio experience using equipment from reputable suppliers. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remain educated, get help when needed, and take in the show! Theaters advance accessibility by using modern technology, guaranteeing that everyone can experience the wonder of live performances. And if you’re in a position to make this change, reach out to us today, and let’s discuss how we can enhance your theater!

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