The audit will check the number of properly working hearing loops in public buildings and facilities, such as shops, banks, GP surgeries, hospitals, churches, courts, theatres, museums and more. It will be the largest survey of hearing loops yet undertaken.
The actual exercise of checking hearing loops will be done in during Hearing Loop Awareness Week, which runs 12-20 July.
Dave King, Hearing Link’s user experience manager who is leading Let’s Loop the UK, says, “It is easy to get involved but ideally people should be hearing aid users because this will allow them not just to check if a hearing loop is provided, but to check how well it works by listening to how it sounds through their hearing aids. The more people involved, the stronger the results will be.”
In the UK, there are around ten million people with hearing loss. About two million people use hearing aids and most could benefit from using a hearing loop in public places to cut out background noise and to reduce the strain of listening over a distance.
Even those with the most state-of-the-art hearing aids can have far better listening experiences by making use of hearing loops – but this requires the hearing loop to be working properly.
The audit that will be carried out across the UK is part of the ‘Let’s Loop the UK’ campaign launched in January this year by Hearing Link. The campaign is promoting the need for more and better hearing loops in all public venues, including shops, banks, libraries, council buildings, churches and so on. Enthusiasm for hearing loops is growing because the campaign is helping the issues that plagued hearing loops in the past to get sorted out.
Dave King adds, “These days, there is no reason why everyone who uses a hearing loop shouldn’t have a great experience. If they don’t, then either their hearing aids need adjusting or the hearing loop system is at fault. If it is the system then the venue manager needs to be made aware because the problems are usually easy for them to fix. Hearing Link is a charity for people with hearing loss and their families.
“We know that hearing loops improve access and we can work with service providers to help them get the right provision in place.”
Volunteers keen to take part in the audit in July should contact Hearing Link’s Helpdesk for more information. Hearing Link’s Helpdesk can also provide more information or advice about hearing loops, hearing aids or any other hearing loss-related issue.
Email email@example.com, tel/text: 0300 111 1113, SMS: 07526 123255.
Results of the hearing loop audit will be published in the autumn.