Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Assistive Listening Systems


Help hearing for groups and public places.


About Assistive Listening Systems 


Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are small amplifiers that bring sound directly to the ear of the user. They separate the sounds that a person wants to hear – such as speech – from background noise. This is called improving the “speech to noise ratio.” Assistive listening devices can be used with or without hearing aids or a cochlear implant.

These devices help improve hearing in classrooms, theatres, or places of worship, and have many other everyday uses. A single transmitter can send the same sound to many receivers, making it good for group settings.

What kinds of assistive listening systems are there?

Portable FM System

An FM System is a pair of wireless devices that use radio waves. The person speaking will wear a microphone which is specially paired to the FM receiver. The listener can either hear them right through their hearing aids or use pair of headphones. These systems are usually portable, so a student could carry their FM device around school and give the microphone to each teacher. FM systems are available from companies like Williams Sound.

Hearing Loop

A hearing loop, or induction loop, uses telecoils to magnetically transmit sound directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants. They work to reduce background noise and other competing sounds in loud environments. These systems use a wire or flat copper tape installed on the floor of a venue. Learn more at HearingLoop.Org

One alternative to induction loops is infrared systems. Places using an infrared hearing system will give you a receiver to wear around your neck. Learn more at

WiFi-Based Systems

WiFi assisted listening allows you to use your phone to connect to a network and listen to an audio broadcast. This is great for people with Bluetooth earbuds, or those who prefer not to wear a receiver. Companies like Listen Tech design these assistive listening solutions.


How can I find out what’s new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:


FM listening systems, hearing loop, amplification system


How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania, you can find your state’s AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out.

Are these in Pennsylvania’s AT Lending Library?