Christmas Shoppers with A Hearing Loss Are Struggling On The High Street


According to latest research by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) some of Britain’s best-known Christmas retailers are failing to comply with accessibility laws.

The charity found that 86 per cent of high street businesses are inaccessible for those who are hard of hearing because they don’t have fully working induction loops.

Induction loop equipment is essential and vital to the two million people in the UK who wear hearing aids.

The findings show that the companies who were the worst offenders were The Carphone Warehouse, O2, Currys/PC World, WH Smith, Thorntons and H Samuel.

In all branches that were surveyed, they were all found to be difficult and hard to find for hearing aid users.

Jackie Ballard, RNID’s Chief Executive, said: “Christmas shopping is stressful enough for anyone, but for people who wear hearing aids, buying something as simple as a box of chocolates or book can be impossible at this time of year.

“Some of the UK’s leading retailers will be concerned to learn that, by not providing a full working induction loop, they are failing shoppers who are deaf or hard of hearing and putting themselves at risk of legal action under the Equality Act 2010.”

RNID asked more than 1,500 businesses in 17 locations across the UK, with 573 businesses found to have loops. Of those who had them, 62 per cent weren’t even switched on, or in working order, or staff didn’t even know how to operate them.

According to the Equality Act 2010, shops should ensure that customers with a hearing loss do not receive a worse service and induction loops are a ‘reasonable adjustment’.

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