Each commercial environment in which a hearing loop is installed, as well as the intended usage, can make a loop installation somewhat unique or down right custom. Therefore, when asked the question, “How much does it cost?”, it's not so simple to answer....
Counter loops are pretty straight forward and, if no installation concerns effecting performance are noted, can be packaged and obtained as a kit. Equipment is not expensive...available for as little as $450 to $600 each. To be effective, the kit needs to be installed, commissioned, and certified to conform to international loop standards. Labor and other costs would need to be factored in per application, but 1-2 hours should do it.
On the other hand, looping an entire room or facility requires assistance from a professional trained and certified for audio induction loop installation. Initially, a thorough site survey should be performed. An estimate can be provided by gathering this information and answering the following types of questions:
What is the input source?
Is there a performance stage?
Is privacy a concern?
Will there be any other loops in the vicinity?
Where will the loop be installed?
How will the loop be installed?
How will the loop be concealed?
Are aesthetics a concern?
Where will the drivers (amplifiers) be located.
How much metal is near the loop?
All of these things ultimately effect the price of a hearing loop, and as mentioned above, a fair estimate can be provided based on this type of information. However, the following two services should be performed prior to commissioning an actual design and before you request a firm quote or bid...a nominal fee be associated:
Pretesting for background EMI (electromagnetic interference) during normal facility operation is mandatory. EMI testing might reveal an issue that could cause additional money to correct or even reveal a problem that would render a loop unusable.
Metal loss testing is essential as metal may be the most significant factor in cost and performance but difficult to quantify if embedded in a concrete floor. Even non-ferrous metals can have quite an effect on the magnetic field within a loop, so accurate assessment and consideration in design has to be factored in. Testing for metal loss is done by temporarily setting up one or more test loops within the environment and measuring the results.
So how much does it cost?
Here's a couple of examples, in theory only, and by no means should be considered as actual pricing. All loops will meet the international standard, but based on the types of variables above, it could look something like this:
It's not all about the dollars, so please consider this; In the United States it is estimated that 20 percent of the population has some form of hearing loss. Providing access to these individuals can simply be the right thing to do. You could be providing a service, investing in the community, being a leader, improving your bottom line, or retaining your customer base. Providing an assistive listening system in your facility may also be a requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For budgetary concerns we might suggest...a good way to estimate the cost of a hearing loop system would be to take the number of fixed seats or the room occupancy rating times a median, one time price of $45 per seat. The best way would be to contact a certified hearing loop professional for more information, an appraisal of your particular situation, and to get in the loop!