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A sound enhancement or communication system must be provided:
Common rooms in residential sheltered accommodation schemes, if used for TV
viewing and/or meetings, should also have induction loops installed.
The two systems most commonly used are loop induction and infra-red. An induction
loop system uses insulated cable encircling the listening area at a suitable
height. An amplifier transmits sound by means of a magnetic field to anyone
within the loop who wears a hearing aid switched to the T position. An infra-red
system transmits sounds via an infra-red signal to the listener wearing a headset
or a hearing aid in T position.
The received signal should be 20db above that received by people whose hearing
is not impaired. The system must be capable of providing a signal which does
not deteriorate due to bad acoustics, reverberation or environmental noises.
Care should be taken that other electrical equipment does not cause interference.
Induction loops must be installed to conform with BS 7594. Specialist technical
advice should be sought to ascertain the best system for a particular location,
to take account of physical features, other equipment and the area's proposed
use, e.g. ifconfidentiality is an issue.
Notices with the appropriate system's logo should be clearly displayed to indicate
the availability of the system. Staff should be trained in its operation, and
regular maintenance checks carried out to ensure that the system is functioning
The level and source of lighting is important to people who need to lip read. Counters and reception desks should be correctly positioned, so that a window or bright lighting source is not behind either person speaking.
Noisy and uncarpeted areas with poor acoustics also cause difficulties for
people with impaired hearing.
The importance of clear signs as an aid to communication should not be overlooked,
especially in areas used by visitors and the public. Notices should identify
a building and give clear directions and information on the services available
and locations. The use of symbols and pictograms can make the signs easier to
Fire and evacuation alarms systems in public areas should have flashing lights
fitted. Emergency alert systems are available which use radio transmitters to
activate miniature receivers worn by deaf people. The receiver vibrates to attract
the deaf person's attention, and displays messages. These systems are recommended
for use in larger public buildings and complexes such as shopping centres. They
can provide a cost-effective system for any public building or place of employment
where separate rooms or features such as shelving limit the effectiveness
of conventional alarms.
At counters and service points where glazed screens separate customers from
staff, non-reflective glass must be used with appropriate lighting, to avoid
confusing glare and reflection which might present a barrier to visually-impaired
Signs and notices giving information or directions must be clear and legible,
with a matt, non-reflective finish, and distinguishable from their background.
Strong colours - especially black on white, or black on yellow - assist partially
The provision of tactile signs and plans, to benefit blind people, should be
considered at some locations, e.g. large transport terminals or shopping complexes
(see 4.3 on Signs and notices).
Audible information messages, and speaking or chiming clocks, can also assist communication.
next fact sheet 6.15
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