Hearing loops: Know your rights

Sep 18, 2012 in Hearing Aids

Hearing loops: Know your rights

When it comes to public places, facility owners have a requirement to protect those who wear digital hearing aids by fitting adequate provisions.

It's stated under the Equality Act 2010, that buildings must make reasonable adjustments for visitors, customers and staff who suffer from any form of disability, including hearing loss.

There are currently believed to be around two million people in the UK who need to wear hearing aids and therefore having a hearing loop installed in buildings is an essential part of life.

That's what Roger Wicks, director of policy and research at charity Action on Hearing Loss, has told councillors in Edenbridge, who have said that installing one in a council building would be a "waste of money".

However, Mr Wicks has responded to the claims by telling the Edenbridge Courier that failure to install one could class as discrimination.

"I would suggest £897 is not an unreasonable price to pay so people who wear hearing aids can access future public meetings on council premises," he said.

A hearing loop is essentially a wire around a room which sees sound fed from a microphone into it.

A current is sent through the system, creating a magnetic field, which then causes a tiny coil inside the hearing aid to receive sound and allow the person to hear what is going on.

Loops are a vital way for those suffering with hearing loss and shouldn't simply be dismissed because of cost.

If you feel strongly that a facility you regularly use needs a loop, then you're within your rights to broach the subject.

Speaking to authorities and companies should be your first port of call but you can always talk to our experts about the topic too.

Great strides have been made in fitting loops but there is still some way to go before everywhere that needs to has them fitted.

They know how important loops are and will be able to offer assistance as and when you may need it.