Assistive Listening Device FAQ

Assisted Listening Device SymbolAssistive Listening Devices (ALDs) amplify and clarify sound by cutting down or eliminating ambient noise. Assistive Listening Systems are installed in all three of the Clarence Brown’s venues and were completely overhauled during the summer of 2013 to improve sound quality and performance. Headsets may be used at any seat and with the upgrade induction neck loops are also now available for patrons who use hearing aids and cochlear implants with a “T” switch. Ask your audiologist whether your hearing aid or cochlear implant has a “T” switch (telecoil) and how to use it with an assistive listening headset.

Photo of a Lady Using an Assistive Listening Earspeaker                     Photo of an ALD Ear Speaker Photo of an ALD Induction Neckloop

images courtesy of Listen Technologies


What are Assistive Listening Devices?

Physically, an ALD consists of a small wireless radio receiver and either an earpiece or an induction neck loop that works directly with telecoil compatible hearing aids (see pictures above). These small devices receive an audio feed from a sophisticated set of microphones in the theatre and amplify the sound to give your ear a boost.  For hearing loss, an ALD is often all that’s needed to help you not miss a single note or word.

How does an Assistive Listening Device work?

Sound for the ALD is provided by a sophisticated set of microphones uniquely designed for each theatre space to capture all of the sound from the stage including the spoken word, sound effects, and music. A transmitter in each theatre sends that sound to the wireless radio receiver which delivers it to the ear speaker or the induction neckloop. By eliminating much of the ambient noise and focusing the sound directly at the ear, ALDs can provide a major boost in the audio quality for an event.

Who can use an Assistive Listening Device?

Everyone! While induction neck-loops are only compatible with hearing aids and cochlear implants that include a “T” switch, the ear speaker can be used by anyone who wants a little volume boost.

Will the patrons next to me be disturbed by the Assistive Listening Device?

ALDs are designed to deliver sound directly to an individual and work using specific reserved radio frequencies so as to not conflict with any other devices or equipment in use by the theatre or our patrons. In addition, the ear speakers and the neck loops are designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. It’s likely no one will even know you’re using one.

Are Assistive Listening Devices available for every show and event at the CBT?

YES! As long as the event is held inside one of our three theatres, ALDs are available regardless of who is producing the show.

Do I need to request an Assistive Listening Device in advance?

You do not need to request an ALD in advance of arriving at the theatre and an ALD can be requested at any time during an event. ALDs are distributed on a first-come-first-served basis free of charge. For the Mainstage and Carousel, ALDs are available at the Concessions Stand. In the Lab Theatre, ALDs may be obtained from the Box Office in the Lab Lobby.

Is there a cost for using an Assistive Listening Device?

No, ALDs are distributed free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis.

Do I need to sit in a specific place to use an Assistive Listening Device?

No, all of our ALDs will work from any seat in any of our three theatres.

Do you clean your Assistive Listening Devices?

Yes, we follow the manufactures maintenance recommendations and use antimicrobial wipes to clean all earpieces and neckloops when they are returned before placing them back into storage.

Do I need to arrive early to obtain an Assistive Listening Device?

While obtaining an ALD will not take very long, we strongly recommend that all patrons arrive AT LEAST 20 minutes before the performance to allow time to park, get to the theatre, and find your seat.

I have a hearing aid or cochlear implant, will an Assistive Listening Device work for me?

Induction neckloops are also now available for patrons who use hearing aids and cochlear implants with a “T” switch. Ask your audiologist whether your hearing aid or cochlear implant has a “T” switch (telecoil) and how to use it with an assistive listening headset.

I have severe hearing loss, will an Assistive Listening Device work for me?

ALDs will generally help anyone who can understand normal conversation either without aid or with a hearing aid. For those who’s hearing loss is more severe than that, an ALD may still be helpful, but it may not be enough on its own. If an ALD is not enough on its own, we recommend checking out our Open Captioning performances which open up the theatre experience even to those with total hearing loss.

Why does the CBT provide Assistive Listening Devices?

We want as many people as possible to have the best possible experience at our performances and events. ALDs make the theatre possible for a whole new audience and increases the accessibility for our existing audience. We would love to hear what you think of this new service. To comment, email us at or give us a call at 865.974.5161.

I have more questions. Can I talk with someone about Assistive Listening Devices?

We’d love to talk with you more! Just call the Box Office at 865.974.5161 or send us an email at