People who are deaf or have hearing loss experience communication barriers when accessing goods and services, as well as in the workplace. This can have far-reaching consequences, leading to isolation and exclusion. With the Louder than Words™ charter mark, you can help prevent this happening.
Equal access is also a legal requirement. Under the Equality Act 2010, service providers and employers have to think ahead to address the barriers that prevent equal access for disabled people, including people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.
With more than 100 years' experience, we are the market leader in providing support and services to people with hearing loss. We have helped thousands of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to become more accessible to people with hearing loss – and some of them have won national awards as a result!
If you'd like to speak to our Access Solutions Consultants, or to request a benchmark or audit, please contact our team:
Telephone: 0333 240 5658 (calls welcome using Next Generation Text)
Why should you be interested in Louder than Words™ charter mark?
Louder than Words™ is a nationally recognised accreditation for organisations striving to offer excellent levels of service and accessibility for customers and employees who are deaf or have a hearing loss.
Do you want to make your business more accessible to the UK’s 11 million people who are deaf or have a hearing loss? Undertaking Louder than Words™ will help you to meet the needs of people with hearing loss, increase your service quality and customer loyalty, and help meet the requirements of the Equality Act and the public sector Equality Duty (or the Discrimination Act 1995 for Northern Ireland).
Good for your customers
Good quality customer service is at the core of any business
Whatever your service or business offer, your customers will remember good service and reward it with continued loyalty. Improving accessibility will increase customer retention rates and show your local community that you're committed to social responsibility.
Our Louder than Words™ charter mark will also support wider organisational aims, such as improving your service for people facing other communication barriers.
Develop your business
Most businesses are not making the most of the £81 million in potential spending power of disabled people. Improving access for customers with hearing loss gives you the opportunity to increase your income from a largely underserved sector.
Improve customer loyalty
Our research shows that more than 80% of our members say they return somewhere if they've found it to be deaf aware – and they will also recommend you to family and friends.
Good for your employees
Training your staff in communication skills and deaf awareness will improve their confidence when talking to people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Increased confidence can lead to greater job satisfaction, improved productivity, and quality. Going through an accreditation process also has proven benefits for team building, as staff work together to achieve a common goal.
It's the law
We can help you towards meeting your legal obligations to your employees under the Equality Act (or Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland). Louder than Words™ accreditation demonstrates that you protect employees with hearing loss from discrimination and that you make reasonable adjustments where necessary (such as using communication support and assistive technology). We can also help you understand how work based assessments can help your employees.
One in six of the population have some form of hearing loss, most of which is age-related. The rising number of employees aged 50+ makes it increasingly important you have the right policies and procedures in place.
Good for business
Recent research (such as the Social Equity Index), shows that consumers judge companies and services according to how they treat their employees, suppliers and customers. Showing that you take corporate social responsibility seriously can enhance your reputation.
Our access consultants have a wealth of experience in assessing a diverse range of organisations from all sectors. Any changes we recommend will be a cost-effective way to ensure best practice for people with hearing loss – and show that you take equality seriously.
Access to other specialised services
We offer an integrated solution to your access requirements and offer cost reductions on products and services, as well as continuing advice and support.
Good for safety
Health and safety
Employers need to be aware of the danger of noise exposure to their employees' hearing. Exposure to sound above 85 decibels can damage hearing permanently over time. This can occur very slowly over a number of years, so it's difficult to notice the change.
How does Louder than Words™ work?
The Louder than Words™ charter mark helps you put in place cost-effective ways of improving accessibility for people with hearing loss. Otherwise, you might be missing out on potential customers, employees or clients – or not serving the ones you have as well as you could. Louder than Words™ can help with these three easy steps:
We will look at your people, your processes and the technology you have in place to see how well you are currently supporting people with hearing loss. Then we will present you with a comprehensive report showing where you already demonstrate good practice, and provide you with an action plan to do even better.
2. Continuing support
We will offer you continuing support to apply the recommendations in the action plan within a timescale that meets your needs
3. Access Auditing and Accreditation
At the end of the agreed time, we will carry out an audit to confirm your action plan has been completed and to see if you meet our Louder than Words™ standards. If you're successful, we'll award you the Louder than Words™ charter mark. You can then display your certificate to indicate your commitment to improving access for people with hearing loss, and you'll be promoted on our website.
Louder than Words™ Renewal
Our Louder than Words™ accreditation is valid for three years. We invite you to undertake a self-audit every year until the third year, when we ask you to renew your accreditation with us for another three years.
Louder than Words™ in detail: How we do it
There are four simple steps to becoming recognised by Louder than Words™.
1. First, we provide you with an experienced access consultant who will benchmark you against our quality standards to complete a gap analysis on four key areas:
a) People (as in staff and customers)
2. After our visit, you implement the recommendations that we set out in our benchmark report and plan of action within an agreed timescale. We are available throughout to help advise on and support the necessary organisational change.
3. At the end of the agreed time, we will carry out an audit to see if you meet our standards. If you are successful, we award you the Louder than Words™ charter mark.
4. You can then display your certificate to indicate your commitment to improving access for people with hearing loss, and you will be registered on our website. We will also support your PR and marketing activity to publicise your award.
Our quality standards
The Louder than Words™ charter is made up of 10 quality standards. We use the following to determine the accessibility of your organisation for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss:
- Train staff to communicate with customers
- Clear and visible deaf-aware policies
- Provide clear information about your products and services
- Use appropriate equipment and maintain it correctly
- Create a good listening environment
- Produce and follow clear health and safety procedures
- Meet requests for communication support whenever requested
- Offer a range of contact methods and be comfortable using them
- Consult customers and staff with hearing loss
- Be open about your employment practices
Find out about our successes
Achieve the charter mark and join the Louder than Words™ Accredited Partners demonstrating their commitment to improving access to their business for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.
Find out more here: Our Louder than Words™ Accredited Partners
Further information and contact
For more information, or to request a benchmark or audit, please contact our Access Solutions team.
Telephone: 0333 240 5658 (calls welcome using Next Generation Text)