A lipreading charity has called on restaurants to take a more considerate approach to the 10 million people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA) has made the call as part of its Lipreading Awareness Week (12-19 September 2016) and is asking restaurants to choose a day to invite their customers to ‘come and enjoy their taste in food, not their taste in music’.
Molly Berry, ATLA’s vice chair, said: “The silver pound is very important to restauranteurs and Lipreading Awareness Week is a good time to ask yourself if your restaurant is welcoming this business. Getting this right could earn your business a lot of money, with nearly half of people aged 65-plus having some form of hearing loss.
“Many hard of hearing people avoid going to restaurants because it’s just too difficult for them to follow conversations and pick out the sounds they want to hear. But minimum investment can fix this and make a restaurant a much more pleasant environment for everyone to hear each other and hold conversations in, not just the hard of hearing.”
Participating restaurants will receive some basic deaf awareness training for their staff, a poster to display of their local lipreading class and a press release template to send to local media.
Hearing aids amplify all sound, including background noise, which leads to the sound getting distorted by echo. The charity is asking restaurant to reduce the echo or bouncing of sound on hard surfaces by using tablecloths to cushion the effect.
Longer term, ATLA would like restaurants to introduce more soft furnishings: curtains, cushions and carpet, or where this is impractical, easy to clean rubber flooring. Alcoves, booths and room dividers also help shut out unwanted noise.
If you would like to take part, please email [email protected]
‘Turn the lights up and the music off’ – Lipreading charity urges restaurants