Lets loop the loops


untitled (31)On Friday I attended a workshop for residents of a local town who are deaf or have hearing impairments and are some of the 2M or so people in the UK whose hearing loss has led them to have a hearing aid fitted. Some of those present were fortunate enough to have visited an audiologist who understands the potential benefit a hearing loop can bring to the lives of these people. Sadly some were not and either had hearing aids which do not contain a T Coil or whose device had not had the Coil activated when the hearing aid was fitted. In that small room around 2/3 of the hearing aid users were able to access the sound from theatres, reception desks and the very small number of cinemas fitted with a loop system. However not all venues with loop systems have staff who have been trained to know how to operate the equipment. Based on the anecdotal information provided by those attending, lots of companies and organisations invest in equipment which fails to fulfil its potential for a whole variety of reasons that frankly are very shameful, but may allow the investors to tick a box on a form. It is time for all of us to do our bit and begin to bring about the same sort of change that the Disability Discrimination Act achieved for Wheelchair Access in many buildings. The challenge for all of us who do not possess a hearing aid is that whilst we can see if a wheelchair ramp is fitted and not impeded, we are less able to observe if there is a hearing loop installed and in working order. However all of us can ask the question of the retailers we frequent and venues we visit. We can look for signs (and where signs are not present we can ask for them to be put up). The workshop I attended was organised by the District or Borough Council and those present included myself representing a company that installs hearing loops (and has all of the requisite training to do so properly), and a company whose business is the manufacture of hearing loop amplifiers. The catalyst for this event was an organisation called Hearing Link. They are undertaking a project called ‘Lets Loop the UK’ and as with other initiatives of this sort, they only work effectively if they are supported from the bottom up. The company I work for also works with another manufacturer of loop equipment to provide training seminars for Architects so that the people who design buildings are aware of the implications and mechanisms for getting it right and wrong. If you are about to employ an Architectural practice for some work, you could ask them if their partners and associates have attended one of these seminars? and if the answer is no, you might wish to suggest they do so!

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About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Charities, Deaf & Hard of Hearing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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