The 2011 census reported that there were 14,425 residents living in Shirley, Southampton. Using national estimates from 2014, we can assume that approximately 1976 of these residents (13.7%) are living with a hearing-loss condition
This number is expected to increase rapidly, with Action on Hearing Loss predicating that this figure will rise to 2063 individuals (14.3%) by 2019. It is therefore essential that action is taken to ensure our shops, resturants and bussinesses are accesible to all affected with a hearing-loss condition.
Following on from our report published in March 2018 that covered businesses in central Southampton, we expanded our coverage to audit premises in Shirley, Southampton. Over a period of several weeks, our team of dedicated volunteers visted several hundred businesses in Shirley, the results of which form this report.
I am disheartened to report that sadly the vast majority of businesses in Shirley are not currently fitted with any sort of hearing loop and, in a few cases, some businesseses were even found to be displaying signage for non-existant hearing loops!
Our data shows that the majority of businesses currently looped in Shirley are either banks, building societies or well-known chains of supermarkets. We believe this low takeup of hearing loops can be attributed to a general lack of awareness of what hearing loops are and their value.
Since conducting this audit we’ve worked with key stakeholders to influence change, creating funding pots to increase the percentage of businesses looped locally.