ADA Requirements

ADA 2010 – Section 219 Requires entities to communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities.

Title III – Public Places
• To ensure equally effective communication as persons without disabilities, receive information from, convey information to, the covered entity.

• Entity must provide auxiliary aids and services.

• Requires an Assistive Listening System (ALS). “…in spaces where communication is integral to the space and audible amplification is provided, the space shall have an ALS… & comply with Appendix L, ALS Performance Standards” ALS Receivers shall be provided for assistive listening.

Systems in each assembly area, minimum of two receivers provided shall be hearing aid compatible.

Why a Hearing Loop is the Best ALS Option
•A hearing loop turns hearing aids or cochlear implants into wireless loudspeakers that broadcast customized sound directly into the end users’ ears without the need for any additional equipment. Hearing loops are fully compliant with ADA without the use of any additional equipment.

•IR (infrared) RF (radio frequency) systems require a neck loop to connect to hearing aids or cochlear implants. WIFI and Bluetooth are not ADA compliant. WIFI is ubiquitous and Bluetooth is a one-to-one system.

•Other systems require the use of a neck loop which means: distributing, retrieving, maintenance, batteries and sanitation of the devices. There is some debate about the small chance of neck loops used with IR or RF systems interfering with pacemakers.

•Hearing loop technology is the preferred ALS endorsed by the AAA (American Academy of Audiology) and HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America).

•Hearing loops are the only ALS that have a sound quality standard IEC60118-4 for installations. The International Electrical Code is recognized worldwide.

•With a hearing loop, no one knows, except the listener, that they are connected to the hearing loop thereby the user maintains their privacy and dignity. People are reluctant to seek out the other types of ALS devices thus they are not often used.

•Initially hearing loops may appear to be more expensive but when you consider they can serve every seat in the house, hearing loops are much more cost effective than the others when comparing cost per user and the benefit of a satisfied patron Hearing loops are ready and working when the PA system is on, there’s nothing more to do.
ALS the Bottom Line
We are often asked ‘why should we install a hearing loop in our venue?'

Our first answer is that it is the ‘right thing to do’.  ALSs provides hearing assistance to over 40 million individuals with hearing loss. Studies show that hearing loops are the preferred ALS in public spaces providing communication access in classrooms, banquet rooms, auditoria, and meeting rooms. A hearing loop is the only technology that provides a crystal-clear audio signal, wirelessly and without latency directly to individuals requiring communication assistance and with a smile. Most installations are completed in a day and can be installed without disruption to venue programs.

Second, a well-designed and installed hearing loop improves the bottom line, it brings satisfied customers back and maintains a customer base. Additional benefits include possible tax credits as well as a tax deduction related to access improvements, and it avoids possible penalties for not complying with New York State (NYS) Uniform Building Code (building code) and American Disability Act (ADA) requirements.

Tax Credit Summary
Section 44 of the Internal Revenue Code provides a tax credit equal to 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year with a maximum expenditure of $10,250. The maximum tax credit is $5,000.00 per year for eligible access expenses the previous year. A tax credit is subtracted from your tax after taxes have been calculated. *

Tax Deduction Summary
Section 190 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for a maximum tax deduction of $15,000.00 per year of the eligible access expenditures which can be used in combination with Section 44.
NOTE: An eligible access expenditures includes architectural adaptations, the removal of architectural barriers, purchase of adaptive equipment, expense(s) to comply with accessibility standards and/or fee(s) for consulting services. Please contact your attorney or tax adviser for more information.

ADA Summary
The ADA was signed into law on December 28, 2010 and became an integral part of the NYS Uniform Building Code that same year. ADA requires “entities to communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities”, to provide an Assistive Listening System (ALS)…:”in spaces where communication is integral to the space and audible amplification is provided.” regardless venue size or number of seats.

In NYS, two paths apply to the enforcement of ADA.  This is different from other states, in NYS ADA is an enforceable section of the building code as well as civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability.

Under the NYS Building Code, Section 1108 Special Occupancies states that “Each assembly area where audible communications are integral to the use of the space shall have an assistive listening system”, Appendix L of the building code provides the performance standards for an installed system. Compliance requirements typically applies to the Architect or Engineer, Contractor, and Building Owner.

The second path is a complaint (a request not answered) filed, by an individual or group requesting assistance, with the Department of Justice (NYS and/or Federal) under the ADA-ABA Accessibility Guidelines. Compliance typically applies to the venue or facility owner.

Penalties and/or court ordered remedies may apply for non-compliance. Existing facility requirements vary as compared to new or altered construction work.

*Tax Credit under Section 44 - A business, that for the previous tax year had either revenues of $1,000,000 or less or 30 or fewer full-time workers may take advantage of this credit.  The credit can be used to cover a variety of expenditures, including provision of sign language interpreters, purchase of adaptive equipment, production of accessible formats of printed materials (i.e., braille, large print, audio tape, computer diskette), removal of architectural barriers in facilities or vehicles (alterations must comply with applicable accessibility standards), and fees for certain consulting services.

A tax credit can only be used only for adaptations to existing facilities, not the cost of new construction, that are required to comply with the ADA. The amount of the tax credit is equal to 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year, up to a maximum expenditure of $10,250. There is no credit for the first $250 of expenditures. The maximum tax credit is $5,000.

Please note, this memo is intended to provide a useful information and is not intended define specific project requirements or represent legal or professional advice.