Port Authority Policy Updates for Hearing Access

An accessibility policy update of the Port Authority of NY/NJ, regarding advancements to come at the three NY Area airports, as well as bus, rail and ferry facilities managed by the PA, is very good news! The executive summary of the 110-page document cites five highlights, one of which is:  “Hearing loops at airline gates to assist travelers wearing hearing aids to hear announcements.” 

Paul Farber, the PA’s Title VI and ADA Compliance Coordinator, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, has kindly provided a guide for easy reading… The hearing loop provision is at Section 2.20 (Pgs. 73-74). This requires IEC-60118-4 compliant hearing loops at new airport passenger gates and at information counters in new transportation facilities. They will also be required at these locations for alterations to existing facilities (unless technically infeasible or if their installation requires compromising the structural integrity of an existing floor system).  

Download the full update >> Port Authority’s Supplemental Accessibility Requirements, and note the discussion of hearing loop systems within these sections:

  1. Appendix A – A2.20 (Pgs. 96 and 97). This is a “plain English” explanation of the requirement.
  2. Appendix B – Par. B8 (Pgs. 104-105). This Appendix contains additional non-binding recommendations. We ask designers and builders to consider adding hearing loops even where not required under Section 2.20 (i.e., at ticketing or customer service counters).

Farber said the policy and document are now public, although the provisions go into full effect in August, at the PA-run airports and other facilities. “Farber assured me that installers will be required to meet the IEC signal strength criteria,” said Jerry Bergman (NYC Chapter).  

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