If your hearing is impaired, you might find daily tasks such as food shopping or buying clothes difficult to manage. This might not be because you’re unused to your condition – after all many people have been living with hearing problems their whole life and have access to plenty of hearing information – but because of poorly trained retail staff, a lack of facilities or discriminatory attitudes.
Thankfully, many retail outlets these days are doing all they can to make things as easy as possible for those with hearing problems, so check out the facts below:
Access and information guides
While you might be familiar with the hearing impaired facilities at your local shopping centre, access and information guides will help you navigate different parts of the UK. If you fancy doing a spot of retail therapy in Derby, for instance, their guide will help you identify which retail outlets have adequate facilities making your life a lot easier. The key is easy to follow and will help you get the service you deserve and require.
Improved communication skills
With over 10 million people in the UK affected by deafness, retail outlets are now doing all they can to improve the way their staff communicate with those who are hard of hearing. Get Deaf Aware, for instance – a registered charity and leading awarding body for qualifications in deaf and deafblind communication techniques – has opened up many staff training options to help companies adopt a more diverse and legally acceptable approach to business. So, if you fancy hitting the high street you should be in good hands.
Sensory aids and facilities
Head to the Trafford Centre in Manchester and any other large shopping centre in the UK and you can expect to find a wide range of sensory aids and facilities. Customer services desks, for instance, are often equipped with hearing loops and text phones are available to use if necessary. Shopping centres like Bluewater also offer concierge services for those who want to be escorted from place-to-place or need a little extra helping hand. While often used by the visually impaired, concierge services can be provided for those with hearing problems too.
According to the Equality Act 2010, people with disabilities have the same right to services supplied by shops, banks, hotels, restaurants and such like as everyone else. So, if you rely on a hearing dog to help you with day-to-day tasks, you should feel welcome in all retail outlets. Service providers must make reasonable adjustments for guide dog and assisted dog owners and should not discriminate.
There are many hearing impaired user-friendly retail outlets out there, so why not check them out and take the opportunity to shop ‘til you drop?