Infrared Hearing Systems

What is an infrared hearing system?

An infrared (IR) hearing system is an assistive listening system to aid communication with an audience. A typical system consists of an audio source, an infrared radiator (transmitter) and infrared listening receivers.

Listen Technologies infrared hearing systemHow do infrared hearing systems work?

Infrared systems distribute an audio signal in the form of invisible light throughout a room. The audio signal (from a microphone or AV system) is fed into an infrared modulator which then converts the audio signal into an RF signal. The modulator then sends this RF signal to an infrared radiator that transmits in the form of infrared light across the room. Portable battery powered infrared receivers are used by individuals to convert the infrared light back into audio which is then fed into earphones, headphones or (if a hearing aid user) induction neck loop. Each system user can then select their channel (if required) adjust their personal volume. There is no limit to the number of receivers that can be used on a system.

Infrared hearing system example

The easiest way to regard infrared radiators is to think of them as floodlights of invisible light. Radiators are available in different sizes depending on the area of coverage and the number of channels required. In most applications multiple radiators are used to ensure an even coverage of the light throughout the room so the user doesn’t experience blind spots.

Some infrared radiators are single channel and use a radiator with an integrated modulator.

Where are infrared hearing system used?

Infrared systems are generally used in concert halls, theatres, auditoriums, conference rooms, council chambers, court rooms or where speech privacy and confidentiality are required as the infrared light cannot penetrate walls or ceilings. This makes them ideal for venues that require systems in adjacent rooms. Infrared systems are sometime used for other technical reasons such as-

Infrared does not suffer losses due to the amount of steel in the construction of the room which can would affect the signal and frequency response of an induction loop system. Systems can also be used in environments with high background magnetic interference.

Portable infrared assistive listening systems (like the Listen Technologies LS-88 systems) are quick to set up with minimal wiring.

Multichannel systems are available. E.g. In a theatre or cinema an infrared system can be used to provide hearing support to assist hard-of-hearing people, audio description to assist blind or partially sighted people, or stereo sound. An infrared system can also be used at a conference centre where simultaneous interpretation is required to communicate with international delegates. Channels can be named and/or disabled on some receivers.

Please note. Infrared systems are generally not suitable for outdoor use, because daylight also contains infrared light which affects the transmission.

We also have a large stock of infrared systems for hire.

We supply infrared products from all the major manufacturers so can select the most suitable and cost-effective equipment for each customer’s individual needs. available on the shop

We can also supply compatible products to work with (discontinued) Sennheiser systems. For more information please contact us.

Alternative systems are Induction Loop (AFILS), FM radio (RF), Audio over WiFi and soon to be launched, Auracast (Bluetooth).