Sports clubs should be accessible to hard of hearing, says charity

With so many being inspired by the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to get fit and more involved in sports, Action on Hearing Loss is urging sports clubs and gymnasiums in Berwick and Berwickshire to ensure they are fully accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Under the Equality Act 2010, services must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be accessible to people with disabilities. This means that managers of sports clubs and gymnasiums must ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy the same level of service as other customers.

However, not all clubs and gyms are as accessible as they should be. For example, people with hearing loss often find it difficult to follow speech in gyms when there is loud background music, or there can be problems keeping up with sporting instructors who haven’t been trained in deaf awareness.

Chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss Paul Breckell, says: “There are big hopes that the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will leave a lasting legacy and we hope that people with hearing loss in Berwick will be given a sporting chance to excel or simply enjoy getting fit or participating in tournaments at their local clubs and gyms. It’s vital that venue managers recognise their legal responsibilities and make the simple adjustments that are needed to meet the individual needs of sports enthusiasts with hearing loss.”