Love Theater But Can’t Hear It? Four Showstopping Solutions
by Katherine Bouton
Do you love the theater but rarely go because you can’t understand the dialogue or lyrics?
Fortunately there are several solutions to this problem beyond the familiar infrared headphones that many theaters offer. And those with hearing loss can even get discount tickets to many shows.
First, about infrared. Theaters that seat more than 50 people are required, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide hearing assistance. Most offer infrared systems. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss and can manage without a hearing aid, you use a headset with earbuds provided by the theater. Earbuds are more effective than over-the-ear headphones — though some people are squeamish about using earbuds that others have used.
If you need to wear your hearing aid, you can use over-the-ear headphones. If you need to turn the sound up, however, the noise may seep out and bother your neighbors. Also, as activist Janice Schacter Lintz points out in an article about theater access, they also may not work if you have behind-the-ear hearing aids.
If you have hearing aids with a telecoil, you can use an infrared receiver worn around the neck, . . .