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  • Writer's pictureZoe Wheeler

Hotels: Safety Precautions For Guests With Hearing Loss

According to statistics from Hearing Matters, 11 million people in the UK (1 in 6) have hearing loss. By 2035 this is estimated to rise to 15.6 million, or one person in five.

Visit Britain has published an ‘access to hotels for people with hearing loss’ report by the Inclusive Hotels Network – we think it makes for really interesting reading.

It makes lots of suggestions on how you can better equip your hotel to accommodate staff and guests with hearing loss.

These are just a few of the adjustments we can help with at hotels that could make all the difference to hard-of-hearing guests.

Fire alarms

Yes, they’re loud – as long as you can hear them! It’s great that you keep up to date with fire alarm tests and make sure your fire safety systems are in good working order, but what about staff and guests who can’t hear?

Have you thought about a lone guest in their room, unable to hear the fire alarm? Do you have a system installed that will alert them via a flashing signal that accompanies the sound?

Alarm systems need to:

  • give a visual as well as an audible warning

  • be easily visible from all areas of a guest’s room, and in public areas

  • be easily identifiable by guests as an alarm

Suitable lighting levels

Hearing-impaired staff and guests may use lip-reading and signing to assist with communication. This can be difficult to achieve, however, if the lighting in rooms and public areas is not sufficient. Particular thought needs to be given to reception areas and service areas such as restaurants. Often in hotels, the lighting is styled in such a way as to cast shadows or is dimmed to create a certain ambiance. This should be assessed from a non-hearing person’s point of view.

It doesn’t necessarily require a completey new lighting system. Subtle changes could have a huge impact. Side lights added to reception areas to provide a light wash across the reception desk can be much more effective than overhead lighting, for example. In restaurants, providing brighter areas, or adjustable lighting at the tables could provide a solution.

Quiet equipment

You might not pick up on the sound of the air conditioning or extractor fan, but those wearing hearing aids might. In some cases, the pitch of humming machinery and what we would classify as background noise can cause interference with hearing technology.

Installing silent running equipment can be of great benefit to those using hearing aids.

Hearing enhancement systems

Do you have a hearing loop installed at reception? How about at all of your service counters, and in meeting and conference areas?

A hearing loop (sometimes called an audio induction loop) is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. It consists of a microphone, an amplifier, and a loop cable, a wire placed around the perimeter of a specific area i.e. a meeting room.

There’s a great video here by Ampetronic explaining how a hearing loop works.

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