Hearing Loop Awareness Week - volunteers wanted

Wanted: Volunteers to help make Hearing Loop Awareness Week a huge success

In November, hundreds of volunteers from all over the UK will take part in the nation’s biggest ever survey of hearing loops.

Hearing Loop Awareness Week (November 2nd – 8th) has been organised by Hearing Link, the charity I work for, to generate greater understanding and awareness of hearing loops in the UK.

And this is really important. Not just for the ten million or so people in this country who have hearing loss of some kind, but also for our economy and our society too.

You see, the truth is that too many hearing loops - systems in public places like shops, banks, libraries, or railway stations - which help clarify sound for people with hearing aids, don’t work properly.

Or they don’t even exist.

This is a major problem. People with hearing loss rely on being able to use working hearing loops when they go shopping, buy train tickets or nip to the bank.

Barrier to inclusion

But if there’s no hearing loop, or the one installed is broken or faulty, then they find themselves facing yet another barrier to inclusion in everyday life.

I’ll give you an example. One lady I know attended the funeral of a friend. The crematorium’s hearing loop was out of order. She was devastated because this meant she was the only one there who couldn’t hear the eulogy. You’d agree that that’s not a good time for anyone to feel ‘excluded’.

You might also want to think about how critical it must be for pharmacies to provide their customers with a hearing loop system that’s working properly too.

Because surely there is a real necessity for clear, unambiguous, communication between people in places where drugs or medicine are being dispensed?

Yet in Swindon one third of all pharmacies don’t have a hearing loop installed.

We know this thanks to a survey we did in the town.

Eastbourne-born

In fact it was a survey organised by Hearing Link and carried out by people in Eastbourne about three years ago that kicked off our ‘Let’s Loop the UK’ campaign.

Volunteers, most of them hearing aids users, went out and checked the quality of hearing loops in the town’s shops, banks and other public places.

Those involved in our Eastbourne survey felt truly empowered because they were raising awareness of the issue, highlighting gaps in services being provided and getting broken loops fixed. They loved it because they were getting things done.

Eastbourne was the springboard. The momentum grew and similar Hearing Link ‘mystery shopper’ surveys took place up and down the UK.

Now, ‘Let’s Loop’ is national.

So, for Hearing Loop Awareness Week 2015 we want to continue creating greater awareness and access to hearing loops in communities across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Wanted: people like you

We need volunteers to check on the availability and condition of hearing loops in shops, banks, churches, railway stations, libraries in their local neighbourhood for a couple of hours during the week.

We will provide a simple checklist, ID badges, and resources to help.

The results will be compiled, mapped and published providing a true picture of loops in the UK. And at Hearing Link we’ll use this information to improve service provision in local communities.

Anybody, with or without hearing loss, can get involved.

While the task is ideal for someone who uses a hearing aid adjusted to a Telecoil setting, we can provide ‘loop listeners’ to any volunteers who don’t use hearing aids, to check on the quality of hearing loops.

So don’t turn a deaf ear to hearing loss. Register to volunteer for Hearing Loop Awareness Week now.

We're here to help

Go to our Help and support section for tips and advice on making this site easier to use, using our services, understanding impairments, and contacting us. To get in touch right now, use the Email, Chat or BSL links.