Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and How Assistive Listening Systems Can Help


Presented at 8:00am in Colorado G-H on Thursday, November 17, 2022.



  • Wynne Whyman, committee member, Get in the Hearing Loop, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
  • Nichole Kovel, Doctor of Audiology, Elite Hearing of Colorado Springs

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


If a student or faculty member wears hearing aids, is their hearing ‘normal’ again? Nope. That’s why the ADA mandates assistive listening systems (IR, FM, and hearing loops) in difficult listening situations. This session will cover hearing loss, personal hearing devices, and pros and cons of different assistive listening systems (ALS). Then we’ll focus on hearing loops: why hearing loops are the most user-friendly ALS, an overview of best practices, and higher education success stories.


People sometimes think hearing loss isn’t that big of a deal – a few missed words or simply not hearing softer sounds. In reality, hearing loss can have a big impact on a person’s life and accessing learning. It is estimated that 1 in 8 students have hearing loss due to noise exposure. Many people are surprised to learn that hearing aids and implants have limited benefit – they perform best when in close and quiet listening situations. In contrast, difficult listening spaces have noise or reverberation challenges, found in university theaters, lecture halls, on-campus chapels, service counters, etc. There are solutions for these difficult settings, when personal devices can connect with institutional provided assistive listening systems (ALS). ALS provide clearer speech and decrease the amount of listening effort, and make a world of difference to students and faculty. Hearing loops are the most user-friendly of the assistive listening options and the first choice for many people, offering benefits for individuals and venues alike. Forward-thinking institutions listen to user needs, include hearing loops in accessibility plans, have information on websites, and have a position statement. The session will include research findings and resources.


  1. As an invisible disability, students with hearing loss often have their accomodations neglected.
  2. Hearing loops are the most user-friendly ALS offering benefits for individuals and institutions alike.
  3. Forward-thinking campuses work with systems change-providing more than just the technology.

Disability Areas

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Procurement, Universal Design for Learning

Speaker Bio(s)

Wynne Whyman

Wynne Whyman volunteers with the HLAA Get in the Hearing Loop program committee and chairs the Let’s Loop Colorado project. She holds two master’s degrees and is a learning architect, developing executive leadership and other courses that focus on organizational and learner needs.

Nichole Kovel

Nichole Kovel is a Doctor of Audiology and the owner of ELITE HEARING of Colorado Springs, a private practice Audiology clinic. Dr. Kovel graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2005. Nichole is a Board Certified Audiologist as a member of the Audiology Doctors of America, a member of state and national Audiology associates, a member of the American Tinnitus Association and Tinnitus Practitioners of America. Locally, she is a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America as well as the Sertoma Club, who each work to help provide residents of community access to hearing.


Handout 1: HLAA-Are You Hearing Everything You Could Handout 2: HLAA-ALS Guidelines for Emerging Technologies Handout 3: HLAA-ADA Assistive Listening Systems-Standards for Accessible Design-4 pages Handout 4: AP-Fall2022-Burwinkel-Dropping the Mic on Telecoils Handout 5: IFHOH Budapest Declaration 2022 Handout 6: HLAA 5 Actions to Promote Accessible Hearing Loops in Google Maps