Romford shops ‘need to do more’ for the hard of hearing

A SURVEY has found that just one in six businesses surveyed in Romford town centre is providing an adequate service for those who wear hearing aids.

Hearing loss charity the RNID, tested out branches of six major chains in the town centre and only one of them, Barclays, had a full working induction loop available for people who were hard of hearing and staff properly trained to use it.

Others surveyed either didn’t have the facilities, they were not working properly, or they were not at the nearest available counters.

Andy Glyde, from Romford, a senior campaigner at the RNID said: “We don’t want to punish shops, it’s about helping them become aware of the needs of deaf and heard of hearing people.

“Many people tell us that they just don’t bother to shop in places that don’t have an induction loop. So it makes sense for businesses to invest.”

The survey found equipment that didn’t work at one store, and in another staff didn’t know how to use the service that was advertised on the window.

Seventeen-and-a-half per cent of Havering’s residents are pensioners, and more than half of people over 60 suffer from some form of hearing loss suggesting that the lack of provision in Romford potentially effects more people than in any other London borough.

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The charity is warning businesses that they may be breaking the Equality Act of 2010 by not providing a full service for people with hearing problems because the act makes it a business or shop’s responsibility to make their services accessible to all.