RNID calls for businesses to do better on induction loops


Campaigning volunteers have reported more than 200 British businesses that do not have fully functional induction loops for their deaf and hearing-impaired customers.
Volunteers for the charity RNID have had problems in post offices, supermarkets, banks, shops and theatres across the UK.
In nearly half of the 500 reports since the start of 2009 – involving 210 separate businesses – the loop was not working properly, and in nearly one in four there was no loop installed. Other complaints included a lack of staff training and the loop not being switched on.
RNID marked Deaf Awareness Week, from 4 to 10 May, by calling on British businesses to ensure they have fully operational induction loops. The loops amplify speech and reduce background noise.
Jackie Ballard, RNID’s chief executive, said service providers that failed to ensure they had a working induction loop were missing out on potential consumer spending and leaving themselves open to legal action under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Colin Bennett, a hearing aid user who has won four DDA cases over poor induction loop provision, said: “Many banks, ticket offices and other services don’t even try to make allowances for people with hearing difficulties like me.
“Even if premises have a loop system, I’ve found the chances are it won’t be working. Staff often don’t have a clue about loops or deaf awareness – shouting at a deaf person to get your point across just isn’t good enough.”