A week ago in the House of Lords, a group of politicians, civil servants, educators, charities and businesses met to learn about some of the innovative technology that is making education and employment increasingly accessible for deaf people. This meeting did not make the news cycle, yet for around 16% of the population of this country, it was a meeting that has the potential to transform their education and prospects for greater employment prospects. Several members of my family rely on hearing aids to communicate with those around them, and in my professional work I help to ensure that hearing loops are considered by organisations building new facilities and refurbishing old ones. As part of this I am involved in supporting ‘Loop Up …..’ groups. I attended an inaugral meeting in Lewes for Loop up Lewes and there is already a very successful group in Eastbourne. These groups attempt to test out the hearing loops that have already been installed, and although this is something a hearing aid wearer can do most easily, those of us who are not users of that technology can participate in.
If we are in a building that we would expect to have a loop system, we can look out for the signs such as the one above. If there is no sign, there may be no loop. Whilst it is not mandatory to provide loops or signs, it is often best practice to do so. Anyone able to read this blog is capable of looking for a sign, and most of us have the confidence to ask an organisation why there is no loop or no sign. Simples!