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Do I Need an Induction Loop System?
Recent literature suggest as much as FIVE percent of the population suffer from some level of hearing impairment. The change of the demographic of the UK featuring an upward average age shift, the detrimental effects of listening to high intensity music, and more people being correctly diagnosed is increasing the number of sufferers all the time. As a result, new legislation is being introduced to encourage the use of induction loop systems to serve this expanding group of people.
Building Regulations 1992 - Mentions on new or substantially refurbished buildings, systems to assist the hearing impaired are required.
Disability Discrimination Act - This piece of legislation was introduced to stop discrimination to any disabled person, primarily so they could receive access to services as easily as a non disabled user. With regards induction loops, these should be deployed so that a hearing aid user receives the same level of access to services as anyone else.
If you have an audio system that allows a "conversation through glass", at a reception counter for example, this should have an induction loop component, so that a hearing aid user receives the same level of "experience" as any one else. It effectively says you can't let your level of service you offer be different, i.e. of a lower quality, for a disabled person to a non disabled person. It is common to fit small, local induction loops at counters, and other points of interaction between staff and the public, to ensure a hearing impaired customer receives the same level of access to service as anyone else.
The Care Standards Act (2002) - This legislation is specifically for care homes and for health care professional's interactions with the elderly. Given how hearing ability naturally declines with age, it is common for the elderly to suffer from hearing impairment. It is common sense that systems are employed to assist with communicating with hearing impaired users. This can take the form of portable, personal 1-to-1 systems for health workers to take with them on house visits, through to TV lounge induction loop systems so that everyone can hear the TV!
British Standards - There are numerous references in the British Standards, and the European harmonised "EN" standards, that give reference to when it is appropriate to fit a loop system, and indeed how to actually fit them so they work!
No matter what the situation, where ever there is an interaction between service providers and customers, there is a need for you to provide a method of communication so that a hearing impaired person receives the same level of service. Induction loops are one such method, that, if correctly fitted, are very effective.
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