Last edited 18 Sep 2020

Hearing loss and the built environment

[edit] Introduction

Hearing loss has an impact on more than 10 million people in the UK. Often called the invisible disability, hearing loss may require changes to the built environment.

[edit] Basic improvements

Hearing loss alters the way people communicate and process information, which is why sight lines are vital. Whether lip reading (with or without hearing aids) or communicating through the use of sign language, people with hearing loss may benefit from unobstructed views.

Adequate lighting and quieter environments can ease communication as well. For instance, soft furniture and carpeting can absorb background noise, but mirrors can create glare and reflections that impede lip reading or signing. Poor lighting can also cause shadows that make it difficult to see what other people are saying.

In some public places, hearing loops reduce interference caused by background noise. Signs will indicate locations where hearing loops are available.

There are special doorbells with flashing lights or vibrations to create additional alerts. The British Standards Institution has published a national standard on smoke alarm systems for people with hearing loss.

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