Southampton City Council has teamed up with local organisations in an effort to make Southampton the first city in the UK to have a hearing loop system in every public building.
Hearing loops – or audio induction loops – pick up the spoken word in noisy public spaces and beam it straight to hearing aids. This cuts out background noise and makes it easier for people with hearing loss to communicate.
Southampton council has partnered with the city’s business improvement district (BID) Go! Southampton and NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as other groups, to provide hearing loop systems to small businesses and GP surgeries across the city.
The partnership has a funding pot of £54,000 and will provide the hearing loops to potentially 200 premises for free following a successful pilot scheme, run by GO! Southampton, during which equipment was fitted at three business within the BID area.
Cllr Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for homes and culture at Southampton CC commented: ‘It is a pleasure to be able to support this initiative to make Southampton more accessible for people with a hearing loss and it will provide a step towards Southampton becoming the first city in the UK to have a hearing loop system in every public building.
‘I would encourage small businesses and GP surgeries to apply for the grant to help them to support their customers or patients with hearing loss in a more personal way.’