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Shops are failing the hard of hearing

Disability campaigner David Law from Buxton, UK, has criticised his local shops for not providing adequate service for hard of hearing shoppers. He notes that whilst many shops have induction loop systems fitted, in many cases they either do not work or staff do not know how to use them.

The Buxton Today article goes on to say:

Mr Law, who has used a hearing aid for much of his adult life, told the Advertiser: “I don’t see the point of shops having an induction loop system available if it does not work or is not set up properly.

“All I seem to get from people is ‘sorry it seems to be faulty’ or ‘we don’t know how to work it’.

“I want to see induction loops working all the time, so people can just walk into a place, switch their hearing aid to the ‘T’ position, and use the system without feeling embarrassed.”

It is estimated that around two million people in the UK use a hearing aid, a number which continues to increase as technology improves and hearing aids become more widely available.

Eight years ago a survey carried out by consultancy firm Grass Roots revealed 61 per cent of loop systems tested were not working properly.

High Peak MP Tom Levitt, a former trustee of the Royal National Insitute for the Deaf, highlighted Mr Law’s concerns in one of the weekly Advertiser columns.

“The law does not oblige shops to have an induction loop, but it does oblige them to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure their services are accessible,” said Mr Levitt.

“What Mr Law has exposed is that a lot of these shops only use the loop for token purposes as staff do not know how to use it and it is not switched on or not working.

“Having a loop that is not used or that does not work is in many ways worse than not having one at all, because it leads people with hearing aids to be disappointed.”

Alyson Rose, spokeswoman for the Disability Rights Commission, added: “If shops have the system working and the staff are trained to use it, they may get an increase in the number of users who are hard of hearing.”

The original article