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California Building Code Excerpt

Section 11B-219 Assistive Listening Systems

Code excerpt regarding scoping requirements for assistive listening systems: general, required systems, receivers, location, and permanent and portable systems.

11B-219 Assistive listening systems

11B-219.1 General. Assistive listening systems shall be provided in accordance with Section 11B-219 and shall comply with Section 11B-706.

11B-219.2 Required systems. An assistive listening system shall be provided in assembly areas, including conference and meeting rooms.

Exception: This section does not apply to systems used exclusively for paging, background music, or a combination of these two uses.

11B-219.3 Receivers. The minimum number of receivers to be provided shall be equal to 4 percent of the total number of seats, but in no case less than two. Twenty-five percent minimum of receivers provided, but no fewer than two, shall be hearing-aid compatible in accordance with Section 11B-706.3.


  1. Where a building contains more than one assembly area and the assembly areas required to provide assistive listening systems are under one management, the total number of required receivers shall be permitted to be calculated according to the total number of seats in the assembly areas in the building provided that all receivers are usable with all systems.
  2. Where all seats in an assembly area are served by an induction loop assistive listening system, the minimum number of receivers required by Section 11B-219.3 to be hearing-aid compatible shall not be required to be provided.

11B-219.4 Location. If the assistive-listening system provided is limited to specific areas or seats, then such areas or seats shall be within a 50-foot (15240 mm) viewing distance of the stage or playing area and shall have a complete view of the stage or playing area.

Advisory 11B-219.4 Location. Sitting in close proximity to the performing area benefits persons with hearing impairments by allowing them to lip-read and better see the facial expressions of performers.

11B-219.5 Permanent and portable systems. Permanently installed assistive-listening systems are required in areas if (1) they accommodate at least 50 persons or if they have audio-amplification systems, and (2) they have fixed seating. If portable assistive-listening systems are used for conference or meeting rooms, the system may serve more than one room. An adequate number of electrical outlets or other supplementary wiring necessary to support a portable assistive-listening system shall be provided.

Advisory 11B-219.5 Permanent and portable systems. The California Building Code (CBC) requires permanently installed assistive listening systems in those assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the use of a space (movie theaters, concert and lecture halls, playhouses, meeting rooms, etc.); where fixed seating is provided and where there may be an audio-amplification system. For other assembly areas, such as those without fixed seating, the CBC requires either a permanently installed system or a portable system. If a portable system is provided an adequate number of electrical outlets or other supplementary wiring to support the system is required. While this provision does not necessarily require the addition of electrical outlets, consideration should be given to locating outlets to support dispersion of seating available for individuals using the assistive listening systems.

Assembly Areas with Room Occupancy Under 50
(where audible communication is integral to the use of the space)
Audio-Amplification System Provided? Fixed Seating Provided? Required:
no N/A outlets or wiring
yes no outlets or wiring
yes yes permanent system
Assembly Areas with Room Occupancy Over 50
(where audible communication is integral to the use of the space)
Fixed Seating Provided? Required:
yes permanent system
no outlets or wiring