Tourist attraction accessibility improves threefold, less than half accessible - Action On Hearing Loss: RNID
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Tourist attraction accessibility improves threefold, less than half accessible

Posted on 18/12/2014

Tourist PhotoMystery visits to 31 tourist attractions across Scotland 

As Scotland’s tourism industry celebrates a boom year, the charity, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is welcoming its latest campaign findings which show that accessibility for visitors with hearing loss at some of the country’s well-known attractions has improved threefold over the last 12 months – but less than half of the visited venues are still not fully accessible for hearing aid wearers.

Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s ‘mystery visitors’ were disappointed to find only three of 21 venues they visited in 2013 had working induction loops at main ticket or customer information points, but were happier to discover that nine – albeit still less than half – of those attractions had working loops during follow-up visits this year.

More venues visited in 2014

An additional 10 attractions were visited in 2014 and it was found, overall, that 19 of 31 venues didn’t have a working loop and so hadn’t made ‘reasonable adjustments’ required by the Equality Act 2010 to enable people with hearing loss to enjoy the same level of service as other customers. Working loops are essential to amplify speech over background noise for the 160,000 people in Scotland who wear hearing aids.

The mystery visitors considered The Royal Yacht Britannia, Glasgow Science Centre, Edinburgh Castle and The Riverside Museum to have the most accessible overall experience for people with hearing loss – when staff support, deaf awareness and ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people who are deaf or hard of hearing attractions were taken in to account.

Important to put the correct processes in place

Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland said:

“We commend the tourist attractions which have continued to be accessible, or improved their accessibility, for visitors who are deaf or have hearing loss in 2014. Some venues have taken the positive step of installing loops but, frustratingly for hearing aid wearers, haven’t checked whether they are working properly or that staff know how to use the equipment.

“2014 has been a great year for the Scottish tourism industry and, by making some simple, inexpensive adjustments or improving processes to get the best out of existing equipment or staff knowledge, 2015 can be an even better year for visitors with hearing loss.”

Andrew Wylie, who is a hearing aid wearer from Glasgow, said:

“There are some fantastic tourist attractions in Scotland but, when there is no working loop or the correct equipment or information is not in place to enjoy the experience, it can be very frustrating. I want to be able to enjoy what tourist attractions have to offer along with everyone else all this requires is a little bit of thought and consideration.”

For more information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, visit

Media Contact: Eileen Clarkson, Campaigns and Media Officer for Acton on Hearing Loss Scotland, on: telephone: 0141 341 5340 or email: eileen.clarkson@hearingloss.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s ‘mystery visitor’ volunteers noted their experiences of 31 venues’ main ticket / information desk, their views on support offered by staff and their overall thoughts about how accessible the attractions are for visitors with hearing loss during August - October 2014.
  2. The 21 venues which were visited by the volunteers in 2013 and revisited in 2014 were: Camera Obscura Edinburgh, Palace of Holyrood, Discovery Point, Edinburgh Castle, Falkirk Wheel, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Science Centre, House for an Art Lover, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, McManus Museum, Melrose Abbey, National Museum of Scotland, Our Dynamic Earth, Paisley Abbey, Riverside (Transport) Museum, Robert Burns Museum, Royal Yacht Britannia, St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art, Scone Palace, The Scotch Whisky Experience and Stirling Castle.
  3. 10 additional venues were visited in 2014: Rosslyn Chapel, Linlithgow Palace, The Bannockburn Centre, Aberdeen Art Gallery, People’s Palace, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, Perth Art Gallery, Dundee Science Centre, Tolbooth, Aberdeen and Maritime Museum, Aberdeen.
  4. Action on Hearing Loss’s commercial services work to improve clients’ customer and employee experiences by providing communication services, tailored awareness training, customised accessibility consultancy services and supplying, installing and maintaining products to help communicate with customers with hearing loss.
  5. Action on Hearing Loss offers a charter mark, Louder than Words, which is awarded to businesses showing best practice for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The charity also offers Deaf Awareness Training for individuals and businesses. For more information, visit or contact telephone: 0333 240 5658, textphone: 0161 276 2316 or email:
  6. Action on Hearing Loss Shop can be contacted by visiting or by calling telephone 03330 144 525,textphone: 03330 144 530or email:
  7. Action on Hearing Loss Scotland is the charity taking action on hearing loss. We want a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people – and where people value their hearing enough to look after it.
  8. For further information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland or to become a member, visit, contact the Action on Hearing Loss Information Line on 0808 808 0123 (freephone) or 0808 808 9000 (textphone) or email:


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