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January 17, 2017

Almost all hearing impaired theatre goers have poor experiences

Poor experiences are common for people with hearing loss who attend theatres or concert halls. 94% of the hearing impaired participants in a survey said that their hearing ability has resulted in them having a poor experience in theatres or concert halls.

Almost all hearing impaired theatre goers have poor experiences

A UK survey completed among 143 people with a range of hearing abilities from mild to profound hearing loss shows that more than 9 out of 10 have a poor experience when going to the theatre or attending events in concert halls. In addition, 83% said they have been disappointed because the right provision wasn’t available to allow them to access and enjoy the performance.

Improved accessibility

The survey also found that shows and concert can be made more comfortable and accessible to people with hearing loss with only a few adjustments. As an example, 73% of respondents agreed that less background music when speaking takes place could improve the experience.

Nearly two out of three (66%) also said that the provision of an assistive listening system would be a huge help. Regarding assistive listening systems, 77% of survey respondents had a clear preference for an induction hearing loop rather than an infrared or FM system. A loop system is a special type of sound system for people who use hearing aids. The loop system provides a magnetic wireless signal that is picked up by a hearing aid when it is set to the T-setting (telecoil). Many hearing aids are equipped with a telecoil (t-coil).

Small adjustments will make a difference

The experiences of being hearing impaired in ticket offices, bar areas and with ushers and customer service staff was also looked at in the survey. The findings reveal that the improvement which would make the greatest single difference is for staff to speak clearly and to look at the person they are speaking to.

Many respondents also agreed that reduced background noise in eating areas (51%), the ticket office (48%) and bar area (46%) could result in a huge improvement of their experience. The possibility of quiet zones in eating and bar areas to make conversations with friends and family easier was also mentioned as a possibility of improvement.  

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