Keeping everyone in the loop
Access and communication for community members wearing hearing aids has been improved in Bass Coast Shire Council’s Customer Service and Visitor Information Centres with the recent installation of ‘Cross the Counter’ portable hearing loops.
Hearing loss can make daily communication with other people more difficult, and Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said hearing aid wearers visiting Customer Service Centres and Visitor Information Centres will now find it easier to communicate with, and understand, staff.
“One in six Australians is affected by hearing loss, and three in every four people aged over 70 years is affected,” Cr Rothfield said.
“We do have an ageing population here in Bass Coast, and we want to make sure we are catering to the needs of our community members as best as possible.”
Hearing aid wearers will be able to identify the portable hearing loops on their local Customer Service or Visitor Information Centre’s reception counters by the Induction Loop sign.
“We encourage all customers and visitors who wear hearing aids to advise staff that they would like to use the hearing loop when speaking with them,” Cr Rothfield said.
How do portable hearing loops work?
Most behind-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants have a telecoil inside that enables the hearing aids and implants to pick up signals directly from other electronic devices, such as the Cross the Counter portable hearing loop.
Some hearing aid users will need to use the ‘T’ switch on their hearing aid to link with the portable hearing loop.
The portable hearing loop carries the electronic signal from the staff member’s voice to the hearing aid wearer’s telecoil, which is then amplified by the hearing aid.
Funding for the portable hearing loops was provided by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Building Program of RuralAccess and supported by Council.
The portable hearing loops are compact, portable, easy to use and powered by a rechargeable battery, and can also be used in meeting rooms as required.
The provision of portable hearing loops aligns with Council’s Disability Action Plan 2016-2020, by ensuring that we take into account the needs of, and access barriers impacting on, all people with a disability in our community, including hearing aid wearers.
For more information, please contact Council’s RuralAccess Community Facilitator, Kathryn Pryor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact Kathryn through the National Relay Service on 13 36 77 or visit www.relayservice.gov.au.