Public facing businesses have a responsibility to make their premises and services accessible to all, including accessibility for those with hearing loss. Assistive listening technology can transform people’s experience of your venue or service and can ensure they visit you time and again.

Installing assistive listening technology

Assistive listening technology can be installed and integrated into almost any environment. This technology amplifies sound in noisy environments, through protective screens, or for people who wear a hearing device because of hearing loss. The method of the installation depends on the technology most suitable for the setting.

Hearing loops deliver sound via a microphone directly to a user’s hearing aid, cutting out distracting background noise. These can be used in one-to-one or group settings.

Infrared systems use invisible IR light to transmit the sound to personal receivers. An ideal technology for settings where sound needs to be contained within a space for example, in movie theaters, meeting rooms, or courtrooms.

FM, RF also known as radio frequency systems use radio waves to carry the sound across long distances. The sound can travel through walls and partitions, and compatible personal receivers are required to hear the sounds.

Window intercom systems transfer speech through barriers such as security screens or clear barriers installed against infection. They benefit everyone and allow customers and staff to hear each other clearly.

Staying Switched On

Once your assistive listening technology has been installed, it’s important to make sure it’s switched on – and stays on.

Some models have an energy-saving ‘sleep’ function. The units can detect the difference between noise and speech and will only activate when speech is detected.

If you’ve revamped your venue since a system was installed, check to ensure systems haven’t been unplugged.

Maintenance

Maintain your investment and book in regular checks.

An engineer will pick up any accidental damage that may have affected the product’s performance.

If your venue has had a refit since the system was installed, the changes might also mean a maintenance visit is needed.

Signage

People need to know assistive listening technology is in place in order to benefit from it. Make sure signs are displayed to show what is available.

The hearing loop sign, which is internationally recognized, informs hearing aid wearers that a loop is available just by activating the T-Coil in their hearing aid.

Make sure your website has information so potential visitors and customers can see how accessible your venue is.

Staff training

There are more than 48 million people in the U.S. and Canada who live with hearing loss.

Make sure staff are aware assistive technology is in place and are knowledgeable on how to use it.

Portable hearing loops that assist one-to-one communication must always be charged and staff need to be confident in using them. Make sure they are kept in a designated place, so they are easily found and available.

Providing inclusive, quality service will ensure loyalty to your business.

Top Tips for Communication with Someone with Hearing Loss

  1. If you’re wearing a facemask, ask if they would like you to remove it. They may rely on lip-reading to help them understand what’s being said.
  1. Face the person and give them your full attention.
  1. Speak clearly but normally – don’t shout or over-emphasize your words.
  1. Try rephrasing what you’re saying.
  1. Have a pen and paper to write things down if necessary.
  1. Make eye contact and maintain it while you are talking.
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