Glad news! The need for more and better hearing access, the importance of the Hearing Access Protocol and the work of Ideas for Ears were repeatedly highlighted during a debate in the Scottish Parliament last week.
The 45 minute debate took place on Thursday 28 February at 12.45pm, straight after First Ministers Questions. It was a cross-party debate led by Alexander Stewart MSP and that included Government Minister Clare Haughey MSP.
Here are a few of the things said during the debate:
Alexander Stewart MSP described the Hearing Access Protocol as being:
“… designed to enable organisers of work-related meetings and events to arrange their own organisational policies and practices around access and inclusion in a way that recognises our language and communication as a fundamental human right.” View video clip.
He reported the impact of poor acoustics, identifying it to:
“… often be a significant cause of discomfort, distress and exclusion and individuals with conditions like tinnitus and sensitive hearing are at a real disadvantage when it comes to employment and enjoying a normal lifestyle.”
He also voiced support for action to tackle the issues, saying:
“… it is only right that we work to create much more awareness of how well and to what degree that someone can actually hear.” View video clip.
Mark Griffin MSP and Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Deafness voiced support for better hearing access, saying:
“… it is vitally important that we do consider how hearing access is prioritised to ensure greater public involvement and participation in the many varied events that we have.” View video clip.
Jeremy Balfour MSP and Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Disability, stated the need for improved hearing access, declaring:
“Hearing access needs to be a priority, and I support the Ideas for Ears’ view that among people in Scotland who have hearing loss, the majority have the capability to hear and follow what is being said well or adequately as long as the environment is right. Sadly, by and large, the environment in many workplaces, including this one, is still not right for people with hearing loss.” View video clip.
Clare Haughey MSP & Minister for Mental Health highlighted the value of partnership work, amongst other things. She commented:
“I’m grateful that the See Hear National Coordinator worked closely with partners to support and promote the Ideas for Ears’ Hearing Access Protocol for ensuring accessible meeting spaces throughout the country.” View video clip.
Annabelle Ewing MSP paid tribute to all the great work going on across the hearing and deafness sector, saying:
“I would wish to formally recognise the excellent work that is done on behalf of deaf people by a range of national and local organisations and individuals right across Scotland. They all work unstintingly to improve the lives of those who are deaf. or otherwise suffer hearing loss and to challenge the removal of those barriers that still remain to this day for the over 1 million individuals who are deaf or suffer hearing loss.” View video clip.