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How can the accessibility of a physical environment be ensured for hearing impaired people?

When creating a suitable environment for hearing impaired people, it’s important to bear in mind that a hearing impaired person needs to receive all their information visually. Announcements and messages communicated verbally with a loudspeaker, e.g. in traffic-related terminals, are problematic for hearing impaired people.

A good hearing environment is one in which people can hear the sounds they need without problems. Such surroundings are of particular importance for hearing impaired people. In public places, it’s important to use soft, sound-absorbing materials to reduce echo and background noise. They can cope better in public spaces when there is no background noise such as loud music in a shop.

A hearing impaired person tires more quickly than a healthy adult and orients more slowly than a normal person who hears before they see. It’s also important to create a noise-free area, a space where people can rest.

Good lighting allows hearing impaired people to read the lips of the speaker and it also makes it easier to observe facial expressions and movements, all of which contribute significantly to understanding speech. Lighting that is intense enough and correctly directed is good.

An alarm device based on a sound signal, such as a fire alarm, must have a signal with a light or vibration for hearing impaired people. Alarm equipment must also have a sufficiently wide sound spectrum. The ability to sense high frequencies usually deteriorates as a result of hearing impairment. This is why the sound spectrum must also include low frequencies.

Read more:

Article “Accessibility” on the website of the Estonian Association of Hard of Hearing

Accessibility Reminder

If you feel that you’ve been treated unequally, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at avaldus@volinik.ee or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.