Assistive listening that delivers intelligible sound and does what it needs to for the hard of hearing is not only cost effective common sense, but a legal requirement.

It is not enough to simply play lip service to it and adopt a 'tick box' mentality without running the risk of prosecution and the bad press that accompanies it.

The Equalities Act 2010

On the 1st October 2010, The Equalities Act 2010 ( formerly the Disability Discrimination Act -DDA) came into effect. It aims is to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination, It provides legal rights for people in the areas of:

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Access to goods, services and facilities
  • Buying and renting land or property
  • Functions of public bodies

The act requires a service provider ( any company big or small- even one person ), who offers goods or services, to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that disabled people are not put at a disadvantage to those who are not. It does not matter whether the services are free or paid for or who runs it eg: government, voluntary or commercial business.

Examples include:

  • Banks, building societies and insurance companies
  • Health services, including hospitals, GP's dentists and opticians
  • Courts, solicitors, and advice and information services
  • Estate agents and private landlords
  • Accomodation agents, councils and housing associations
  • Property developers, management agencies and investment companies
  • Cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries
  • Railway and bus stations, airports and seaports, and travel agents
  • Shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs
  • Mail order or telephone order businesses
  • Hotels, hostels and guest houses
  • Telecommunications and broadcasting services
  • Organisations that offer goods and services through the internet
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship
  • Sports centres, health clubs, parks and other leisure facilities
  • Private and voluntary providers of further and higher education
  • Schools, colleges and universities when they provide services to the public eg: parents' evening, conferences
  • Private, voluntary and statutory providers of nursery education that are not established as schools, including accredited childminders
  • Student unions

The duty requires 'reasonable adjustments' to be made if a disabled person is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to someone who is not. The requirement to provide additional aids or services is particularly important for people with hearing loss. Additional aids include communication support, equipment - of which the installation of a correctly installed, standard compliant induction loop is considered best practice- and other eg: making printed and online material more accessible

Where transport is concerened, all buses must be accessible by 2017 and trains by 2020.

Building Regulations 2010 Part M

Part M of the building regulations is concerned with accessibility. When part M applies, reasonable provision should be made in buildings other than domestic homes for aids to communication for people with an impairement of hearing or sight in auditoria, meeting rooms, reception areas, ticket offices and at information points.

A permanent induction loop is considered best practice in larger spaces, but in smaller meeting rooms for example, a good quality, high performance portable induction loop is considered acceptable.

Please note: BS 8300 takes presedence over Building Regulations2010 Part M

For more information visit:
City of London Website

English Tourism Council's National Accessible Scheme - 2002

Developed by the English Tourism Council, this initiative is designed to help businesses in tourism to become more accessible and attractive to the disabled eg: hotels. The scheme operates similar to the michelin star rating for restaurants and allows establishments to display signage and material to promote their independently verified accessibility. The scheme helps businesses to meet their obligations under the Equalities Act 2010.

There are two levels for hearing accessibility- number one demonstrates that the establishment has met a minimum requirement for the hearing imparied and number two demonstrates 'best practice'.


BS EN 60118-4:2006

Electroacoustics:Hearing Aids: Induction loop systems for hearing aid purposes. Magnetic field Strength
Read our full article about the Loop Performance Standard IEC 60118-4:2006
All UnivoxAudio induction loop systems, when installed correctly, meet international performance standard BS EN 60118-4:2006 and in many cases exceed the performance requirements within it.

BS 7594:2011

Code of practice for audio frequency induction loop systems (AFILS)
In September 2011 the British Standards Institution published BS 7594:2011- a code of practide for audio frequency induction loop systems, commonly known as induction loops, hearing loops, deaf loops or AFILS - audio frequency induction loop systems. The aim of the standard is to ensure that induction loops are fit for purpose, functioning correctly and of real benefit to the user.

Compliance with the standard is achieved by the correct deployment, set up and maintenance of induction loop systems and this compliance is recorded in a system log book along with the relevant test certificates.

To comply with BS 7594:2001 you must be able to demonstrate that the induction loop system:

  • Is fit for purpose
  • Is in working order
  • Has a field strength of 400 mA/m
  • Has a frequency response of ± 3dB from 100Hz to 5kH ref 1 kHz
  • Background noise level is ‹ -32 dB ref 400 mA/m
  • Is regularly tested and correctly maintained
  • Is the responsibility of a nominated person
  • Is operated by trained individuals
  • Has a log book detailing training, certificates and maintenance

For more information visit:
BS 7594:2011

BS 8300:2009+A1:2010

Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of practice.
BS 8300 explains how the built environment can be designed to anticipate, and overcome, restrictions that prevent disabled people making full use of the premises and their surroundings. An accessible environment is one which a disabled person can enter and make use of independently or with help from a partner or assistant.

Some facilities can be designed in such a way as to incorporate access for disabled people. In other situations , additional features such as grab bars, touch legible signs and hearing enhancement systems might be needed.

Please note: BS 8300 takes presedence over any guidelines within the Buidling Regulations 2010 PartM

For more information visit:
BS 8300:2009+A1:2010

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