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Hearing Induction Loop Legislation
There are a number of pieces of legislation that service providers and employers must consider in order to avoid discrimination against disabled people, including the hearing impaired.
The Equalities Act (2010)
The Equality Act of 2010, which replaces the existing anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, simplifies and strengthens the law to tackle discrimination and inequality affecting people with 'protected characteristics' covering age, sex, race and disability. The guide to the section pertaining to disability access can be seen here and makes mention of hearing loops.
"Service providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers. There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format , an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service)."
The Building Regulations 2010(12)
The UK building regulations inform architects and builder about the regulations for new building and how disability access is required. The regulations mention induction loops in reference to reception desks, performance and discussion areas and prominent use of signage to inform the hard of hearing of their presence.
"Any reception point is provided with a hearing enhancement system, e.g. an induction loop."
"In order to obtain the full benefit of attending public performances or taking part in discussions, a person with impaired hearing needs to receive a signal that is amplified in both volume and signal to noise ratio. The three systems commonly used to provide this enhanced level of sound are induction loops, infrared and radio."
British Standards 8300 - Code of Practise
British Standards document number BS8300 is a code of practise regarding the design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Again, induction loops are cited with regard to meeting rooms/lecture rooms and performance areas but also lifts and help points.
"Ticket sales and information points that are located in noisy environments or that have security screens should have at least one position fitted with a hearing enhancement (induction loop)."
"A hearing enhancement system, using induction loop, infrared or radio transmission, should be installed in rooms and spaces used for meetings, lectures, classes, performances, spectator sport or films, and at service or reception counters where the background noise level is high or where glazed screens are used."
The Care Standards Act (2002)
The Care Standards Act demands that care homes in England provide certain adaptations and equipment for residents, Including:
"facilities, including communication aids (e.g. a loop system), and signs to assist the needs of all service users, taking account of the needs, for example, of those with hearing impairment, visual impairment, dual sensory impairments, learning disabilities or dementia or other cognitive impairment, where necessary." (standard 22.6).
These requirements apply to all care homes providing accommodation and nursing or personal care for older people in England. Regular inspections and enforcement of the legislation is carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) For more information on the Care Standards Act, visit the CQC's web site at www.cqc.org.uk
Hearing enhancement systems must be installed in any facilities likely to be used by the hearing impaired, either as customers, visitors or staff. For example, meeting rooms in excess of 100m2, lecture or entertainment theatres, spectator sports facilities, cultural and scientific buildings, and service or reception counters that are behind glazed screens.
Some examples of service providers covered under the Act are:
Telecommunications and broadcasting organisations
Public utility companies
Leisure centres, stadia, health clubs
Bus and railway stations, airports and travel agents
Shops, hairdressers, post offices, banks and building societies
Hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and pubs
Hospitals, waiting rooms and clinics Solicitors offices, courts, churches and mosques
Allansound Communications offer a wide range of cost-effective Induction Loop Systems to ensure that you remain fully compliant with the legislative requirements. From a simple counter application to a theatre or seminar room, Allansound Communications has a solution that offers high quality sound reinforcement which is easy to install and use.
Disclaimer: This information is given as a general guide only. It is not intended to contain definitive legal advice. Professional legal advice should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.</FON