12 winners and 6 worst offenders
The UK’s first-ever Hearing Access Awards has identified 12 worthy winners and six biggest fails. Each award represents a great or terrible experience that someone with hearing loss has had over the last year.
They acknowledge individuals and organisations who have knocked down barriers and made lives better by doing so. And they identify situations that disadvantage and disable people, causing stress, upset and loss of dignity or independence.
The focus of the Awards is to recognise the importance of hearing access, which is about making it more possible for more people to more easily hear and follow the spoken word and other audible information.
Breaking down barriers
It is about breaking down barriers connected with noise and acoustics, audio equipment, the way people speak and behave, details like lighting, room layout and visibility of speakers’ faces and mouths, as well as more specific support like use of live subtitles and sign language interpreters.
The Awards have been established by Ideas for Ears, and this year are being run in partnership with the Forth Valley Hearing Access Forum, a community group tackling hearing access in the local area.
Nominated by people with hearing loss
Nominations were put forward by people with hearing loss who attend the Forth Valley Hearing Hub and represent notable experiences that one or more individual has had over the last 12 months. The judging panel was formed from a representative a group of these individuals.
Sally Shaw, founder & director of Ideas for Ears, says: “Lives are made better or worse by the quality of hearing access. It is just as valid and vital as physical and mobility access. These Awards place a spotlight on good and poor practices and recognise that quite often it is simple, straightforward things that make the difference. My thanks to all those who took time to submit a nomination and to those on the judging panel.”
Alison Delaney, chair of the Forth Valley Hearing Access Forum, comments: “Poor hearing access is impacting on individuals everywhere, including across Forth Valley. But it doesn’t need to be like this as these Awards show. Our wish for the coming year is that people have more uplifting and positive experiences and far fewer experiences that eat away at well-being, independence and dignity.”
Janis McDonald, Chief Officer of deafscotland, the national lead on deafness, welcomed the awards. She said: “Communication is vital to ease the wheels of communities and there are many simple fixes to do it well: awareness, consideration and preparation. We are pleased to see the Hearing Access Awards shine a light on good practice.”