Do people with hearing loss get treated as a low priority?

I work for a company that designs and installs hearing loops in buildings for use by members of the public. We specialise in that area of work although we do a much wider range of installations that relate to audio and visual systems. I don’t know if builders get asked to quote for ramps for people in wheel chairs and then when the construction elements are being assessed by quantity surveyors or the clients, they are told to not bother because they are needing to cut the costs? What I do know is that for many people who could benefit from hearing loops, their prospects of them being fitted into buildings that will include an audio system is far from 100%. There are sometimes very clear and understandable reasons why loops cannot be fitted easily or will be completely inappropriate so demanding hearing loops in every room in every building in the country makes no sense. However once the building is constructed and finished, depending on the nature of the building it may be far more costly and challenging to fit such a simple piece of technology than if it had been fitted during the construction phase. The number of people in our nation who rely on hearing aids is over 2 million and this is a significant number of people. The prospect of being in a building or indeed outside (loops can be fitted into external settings) and having to sit patiently while people speak to a large group that surrounds them and the speakers either choose not to use the microphones to make themselves more comfortable or use microphones that are not connected to a hearing loop places the people with hearing aids at a very difficult position, particularly if they cannot lip read due to the location or if BSL is not being provided. Thankfully some buildings are built with hearing loops as a high priority, but yesterday, not for the first time we received a request for a design with the provisio that the cost of the loops may well mean they will be eliminated before the job is contracted. If only we could find a way of raising the profile of some of the 2 million people who could benefit from such issues amongst the construction industry and their clients!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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