Winners in the Organisation Category of the 2019 Hearing Access Awards are listed below. They were nominated by people with hearing loss for their positive and effective approach towards delivering hearing access.
NOTE: This year the awards were run jointly with the Forth Valley Hearing Access Forum and so highlight the experiences over the last 12 months of people with hearing loss who live in Forth Valley. Your group, club or organisation can participate next year – find out more.
WINNER: Forth Valley U3A
Nominated for their leadership and action in tackling hearing access and its detrimental impact on older people.
Their first step was to carry out a members’ survey to measure current levels of hearing access and to identify hidden issues. They then trialled a high quality sound system to allow members to experience and assess any difference it made to how easily and comfortably they could hear. The positive feedback led them to purchase their own high quality portable system, but not until they had comprehensively researched the equipment to find out what would work best for them. They then began rolling out a programme of workshops to Activity Group Leaders to generate more knowledge about hearing access.
Alongside this activity, Forth Valley U3A has also taken steps to share what they are doing with other U3As in Scotland and beyond. In this way, they are helping to build awareness of hearing access and its importance for ensuring everyone is fully included.
RUNNER UP: Dr Guerrero’s Surgical Team at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow
Nominated for their excellent efforts and diligence in meeting the communication needs of a patient with hearing loss. Having been told that the patient had significant hearing loss and was unable to hear when not wearing hearing aids, they confidently and ably adapted in their communication methods to ensure the patient was kept informed and was feeling okay before, during and after surgery.
Their effectiveness at using alternative communication styles and techniques removed the
stress, confusion and anxiety that the patient would otherwise have experienced.
RUNNER UP: Audacious Mobile Phone Service
Nominated for their focus and commitment towards customers with hearing loss and for showing impressive leadership in the telecoms sector.
Their use of global-first technology to make voice calls clearer and easier to hear has given people with hearing loss a new and desirable phone solution. Their customer service approach has been shaped by people with hearing loss, including members of Forth Valley Hearing Hub, who tested different elements of the service and helped select the voice and music used for the audio recordings used by the Audacious contact centre and used on the interactive ‘Sound Check’ tool.
They have invested in industry-leading staff training to build into their organisation a strong ethos of hearing access and to create customer service staff who are knowledgeable about hearing and deafness and skilled in engaging with people who have hearing loss. Their entry to the mobile phone market shows what is possible and provides hope that other companies will follow their example.
COMMENDED: Volunteer Scotland
Nominated for taking steps to understand hearing access and to improve the experiences of people with hearing loss and deafness.
They helped to pilot a staff survey that identified hidden issues relating to hearing and deafness, and they invited a panel of volunteers with hearing loss to assess ease and comfort of listening in their meeting rooms. Further to this, they invested in acoustic treatments to two of their meeting rooms, and upgraded their audio equipment in another meeting room. They are also gradually adapting their meeting and event procedures so it is easier for people to hear, follow and participate.
Their actions are making them more accessible and inclusive.
COMMENDED: Stirling Probus Club
Nominated for their positive approach towards assessing members’ hearing experiences during meetings and for their action to support improvement.
The Club carried out a Members’ Survey to measure current hearing access and to identify any hidden issues. They then introduced the use of a Public Address System to meetings and also tested some free-standing acoustic panels to assess any benefit they offered. They are working to introduce new procedures that require everyone to speak into a microphone and that encourage guest speakers and presenters to take care with their volume, pace and diction. Their awareness and action is helping to make the Club more accessible and inclusive.
COMMENDED: TBC – awaiting permission to share
Nominated for their attention to hearing access when running a consultation event for local people.
After discovering that the venue booked for the consultation event did not have appropriate audio equipment, they invested time and money in hiring a portable sound system. This included a public address system, hearing loop and wireless microphones that could be passed to anyone wishing to speak.
Their efforts to improve hearing access at the meeting made it more possible for everyone to hear and follow what was said during proceedings. It also encouraged the venue owner to progress plans already in discussion to install new audio equipment to the facility.