Planning your visit to a museum or gallery
Before your visit, check the museum or gallery website for information about accessibility. Some museums and galleries have hearing induction loops or infrared systems at the information and ticket desks that can help you to hear sound more clearly over background noise.
How do I use a hearing loop system?
If you use hearing aids, set them to the hearing loop setting (formerly the ‘T’ setting). If your hearing aids don’t have this setting, speak to your audiologist – they may need to activate it for you.If you don't have hearing aids, you can use a hearing loop with a loop-listening device, which will send the sound directly to your ears through headphones, earphones or a stethoset.
How do I use an infrared system?
An infrared system is often used as an alternative to a loop system in entertainment venues. If an infrared system is available, you’ll need to collect a receiver (or listener) from the reception desk or ticket office .If you use hearing aids, you’ll need a receiver that has a neckloop, which you use with your hearing aids on the loop setting. If you don’t use hearing aids, you’ll need a receiver with headphones.
What else can help me enjoy museums and galleries?
Check ahead of your visit what facilities are available to help you enjoy exhibitions. You may wish to find out whether there are:
- audio guides available for the exhibition with volume enhancement
- exhibition videos and films that have subtitles and transcripts
- transcripts of audio guides that you can use
- British Sign Language (BSL) multimedia tours
- water for assistance dogs.
Often, you will need to pay for facilities, such as audio guides.
If you'd like to go to a museum or gallery event, check ahead to see what assistance is provided if you are deaf or have hearing loss.
Some museums and galleries provide:
- hearing loops for talks and films
- BSL interpreted talks, and talks in BSL.
Live speech to text captioning provided by STAGETEXT. This service converts the spoken word into visible text that appears on a large screen near the speaker.
What if I have a bad experience at a museum or gallery?
If a museum or gallery isn’t accessible for you, tell the manager that you’re not satisfied with the access they provide for people who are deaf or have hearing loss. You may have to fill in a short comment or complaint form.If venues receive a lot of feedback of this kind, it does lead to changes.
You can also share your experience on an online review site or on social media. This can be a very effective way to have your complaint addressed – as the museum or gallery won't want others to see your complaint about accessibility.
For more about enjoying the arts, see our leaflet Enjoying TV, film and the arts