Accessibility is an important topic for people with hearing loss, just as it is with other disabilities. There are legal requirements, but it is also a good thing for businesses to further the cause. It’s simply a good practice for businesses to make public areas safe and easy to navigate. So, what can be done?
Having clear communication
It is important to be able to understand announcements coming over the public address systems that are on planes, trains, subways, and buses. Such announcements are difficult for those people with normal hearing to understand, let alone those people who have hearing loss. Closed captioning, using an electronic sign, is a good solution.
Some places, such as movie theaters, have an induction loop or telecoil system. Expansion of use of such a feature would be beneficial. Most hearing aids have telecoils that pick up information from places that are fashioned with such a system. There are also induction loops in auditoriums, places of worship, and concert halls. It is a good thing to include American Sign Language interpreters at any public venue or during any public announcement.
Having safety measures
There is already a visual tracking system, for instance, for flight changes or delays, but it is also imperative to see emergency alerts. Any area that can become unsafe should have a visual alert system, such as a flashing light to be paired with the sound of an alarm. There should be visual readouts of emergency routes and exits, as well, besides an announcement over a public address system with a visual cue. Exits evacuation routes should be clearly lit, and an American Sign Language interpreter should be on staff at any public venue.
Having education that is accessible
Public schools and institutions of higher learning must accommodate people with hearing loss. A student can directly stream a teacher’s voice into his or her hearing aids or an American Sign Language interpreter can be present. But the best example of how the hard of hearing can be helped is Gallaudet University. Here are some tips:
You can contact the U.S. Department of Justice if you have anymore suggestions about making the lives of the hearing impaired easier in the public realm.
If you need help with hearing loss, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.