GWH leads the way in 'Let's Loop Swindon' campaign

Posted: January 23, 2015

With nearly 50 hearing loops in the hospital, GWH has been highlighted by national charity Hearing Link as a flagship organisation in Swindon.

The Trust has made it a priority to invest in hearing loops over the last four years making a huge difference to patients and visitors who use hearing aids with a loop facility.

There are now 44 loops located in the hospital's main reception, Emergency Department and all ward and department receptions.

There are also loops in the lifts and at the exit barriers of the car parks, all of which are checked weekly. 

A hearing loop is a special type of sound system which gives a wireless signal which can be picked up by all NHS hearing aids when the hearing aid is set to the 'T' (Telecoil) setting.

The loop overcomes distance and cuts out intermediate unwanted background noise to ensure that the hearing aid wearer can hear with less confusion.

Some smaller hearing aids don't have the Telecoil setting, unlike all NHS hearing aids, therefore it's important to check. 

Around 70% of people aged over 70 and 40% of people aged over 50 have some form of hearing impairment.

For those with hearing loss, everyday communication can be a challenge.

Without hearing loops many people struggle having conversations in places with a large amount of background noise, such as hospitals, shops, airports, cinemas and restaurants, resulting in unnecessary confusion, alienation, embarrassment and poor service. 

Dr David Reed, Consultant Audiological Scientist and Head of Audiology Services at the Great Western Hospital, said: "It's so important that services are accessible to everyone, including those with hearing difficulties.

"We are therefore supporting Let's Loop Swindon, which aims to raise awareness of hearing loops and encourage the use of them by local organisations and businesses in the town. 

"We know that hearing loops make coming into hospital so much easier for many of our patients and visitors. Many organisations have loops in place, but staff aren't trained how to use them, so awareness and training is equally important. 

"Hearing loops are so simple, but so effective. They dramatically improve the experience of any service and make life much easier for people with hearing difficulties. I hope we inspire other local organisations and businesses to take up the mantle!" 

Let's Loop Swindonis a community project which works in tandem with Rotary International, national charity, Hearing Link and a number of community partners.

Volunteers have been testing loop provision around the town in pharmacies and supermarkets and they are currently planning further surveys. 

Let's Loop Swindon also offers specialist training to local organisations and is holding a series of free sessions at the National Trust's Heelis Building in Swindon on Wednesday 25 February from 10.30am.

Any local business or organisation is welcome to attend and find out more.

Further information

To find out more about the national 'Let's Loop the UK' campaign please see the Hearing Link website (www.hearinglink.org/lets-loop-the-uk).

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