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      Charity calls on health services to improve hearing loops provision, as research reveals only one in five deaf patients have access

      14 May 2018

      Only one in five patients with hearing loss have access to a hearing loop at health appointments, according to research published today by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland.

      Hearing loops can be essential to enable hearing aid users to follow conversations as they amplify speech over background noise.

      Nearly 600 deaf people across Scotland shared their experiences of booking and attending hospital, health centre and GP appointments with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland researchers to inform the charity’s new Equal treatment? report.

      Half of the research participants said they didn’t know if their hearing loss and individual communication needs are included in their patient records and, although the vast majority of respondents said they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with communication by health professionals and frontline staff, only two in five said they always get all the information they need during appointments.

      Half of those patients who don’t get all the required information said it was due to a lack of deaf awareness by doctors and nurses who speak too quickly and don’t check that they are being understood. Two in five said their misunderstandings were due to health staff not facing them when speaking.

      Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Director, Teri Devine said: “We’re very disappointed that only one in five of our survey respondents could say with certainty that there is a hearing loop in the reception areas of GP surgeries, health centres or hospitals as their availability can be essential for hearing aids users to follow instructions and medical information.

      “It is vital that communication preferences are included in patients’ records to help ensure good communication with patients from the time an appointment is being booked, through the wait in reception to the medical consultations so it’s very concerning that three in five respondents weren’t asked about their communication preferences.

      “Our research findings and recommendations highlight how health services in Scotland can improve their accessibility to help patients who are Deaf or have hearing loss to experience the same level of service as everyone else in society and reduce the risk of leaving appointments without being fully informed about their health or treatments.”

      To download the Equal treatment? report, visit

      Media contact:

      Eileen Clarkson, Senior Campaigner and PR Officer, telephone 0141 341 5340 or email


      Notes to editor:

      1. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Access to Health Services survey was taken by 597 people between September 2017 and January 2018.

      2. Hearing loops work through a microphone picking up the sound of speech and an amplifier processing the audio for output through a metal coil (or loop) as a magnetic signal. Moving the switch on some hearing aids to the ‘T’ (telecoil) position disengages the hearing aid's own microphone, so that it only receives the sounds going in to the microphone on the loop.

      3. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is a charity which supports people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus to live the life they choose by campaigning for equality and developing technology and treatments.

      4. For further information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland or to become a member, visit, contact Action on Hearing Loss’s Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone) or 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email:

      5. For advice about the range of services and training provided by Action on Hearing Loss book an appointment with an Access Solution Consultant: email: telephone: 0333 240 5658 or textphone: 0333 014 4530.