Change is in the hear

untitled (31)I have blogged from time to time about the importance of installing good quality hearing loops in public buildings and indeed in any setting where visitors or residents rely completely or partly on hearing aids or cochlear implants to interact with others. Although the company I work for has fitted Audio Frequency Induction Loop Systems (AFILS) for about a decade, it is only in the last 2 years that they have become a key part of our work. In that time the quality of our installations have improved enormously as we have sought to learn more about the technology and worked closer with groups of people who rely on the systems. One of the ways in which we distinguish our company from many of our competitors is in our commitment to register with the Instituted of Sound and Communication Engineers who have a course on AFILS which is the only course recognised by Action on Hearing Loss (previously RNID). We have also begun to work closely with Hearing Link who are another charity set up to support people with hearing loss, their families and friends. As part of this we are participating in groups such as Loop up Lewes which are campaigning locally to improve the provision for hearing aid users. As a company we have maintained good standards in our work and it is not at all rare for someone to ring us out of the blue to ask us to carry out some work for them, having been recommended by someone else. However it is very noticeable that in the last 6-8 weeks we have had at least 4 calls from people who have seen our engineers names on the ISCE list. This is very encouraging as it suggests that along with ourselves, the people who manage buildings such as churches and community centres are also getting the message that fitting a poor loop system, is worse than not having a loop system at all. We were recently asked by SENSE, the deafblind charity to install some temporary loops in a Hotel in Bucharest for their International Conference. One of the noteworthy aspects of this exercise was that due to flight times, we had surplus engineers in Romania for the first 2 days of the conference. Our engineers could have gone sight seeing, but instead spent some of their time speaking to delegates. They explained too the people they met that the new loop systems were now working and that the people should adjust their hearing aids accordingly. Our engineers were staggered by the number of people who initially refused to do so, claiming that in their experience, loop systems never work. Thankfully these experiences have now been reversed. However it is vital that all of us, especially people in the Audio Visual industry like me and my colleagues, strive to do much much better. This is old technology, which when applied properly works amazingly well. As we gear up to the new enquiries, and looking forward to hearing loop awareness week, perhaps over the next few weeks, we could redouble our efforts to check if our workplaces, or places of social entertainment have decided to fit appropriate systems. After all it is 5 years since the Equality Act was passed which specifically referred to the use of loop systems as one of the reasonable adjustments that could be made to a building.


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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