The presence of assistive listening systems (ALS) has grown in recent years, and they benefit people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired. And sometimes they can be appropriate for people who just want a boost in the sound for straight plays that are not miked. Determining what type of ALS is best for a venue depends on needs and budget. Some of the main manufacturers of assistive listening devices are Listen Technologies, Williams Sound, and Sennheiser. The main types of systems vary. FM-based RF (radio frequency) systems are quite common, as are IR (infrared). Induction loop systems, popular in Europe, are making a resurgence in America. IR tends to be more expensive and is known for higher quality sound, but other options may be more appropriate for a theatre or other public venue.
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