Eastbourne’s loop model used as example to the UK

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Eastbourne will be used as a blueprint towards helping other towns and cities in the UK to provide better hearing loops.

An information booklet and promotional video featuring the town’s MP, Stephen Lloyd, was presented to delegates who attended the third international hearing loop conference staged at the Winter Garden which finished on Monday.

Around 200 delegates from as far afield as Australia and the USA also heard a presentation about the Let’s Loop Eastbourne initiative at a two-day conference which was organised by the Sovereign Harbour-based charity, Hearing Link.

Lorraine Gailey, Hearing Link’s chief executive, said, “It is due to the efforts of Hearing Link’s dedicated loop checker volunteers that Eastbourne’s loop provision has improved so much.

“The next step for that campaign is to make available the knowledge and experience gained in Eastbourne to other towns and cities in the UK.

“Newcastle has already set up a group modelled on our success, and Surrey is about to do the same.”

Among the speakers was American classical composer, Richard Einhorn.

As a prelude to the international conference, the New Yorker spoke at Saturday’s UK Hearing Loop conference which had the theme of travel, leisure and accessible tourism, to talk about how modern technology, including using his smart phone, helps him with his hearing loss in airports, railway stations and also in restaurants.

Richard, whose best known piece Voices of Lighthas been performed across the world, also played excerpts of his work during a concert evening at the Birley Centre on Saturday night.

One of the keynote speakers at the international conference was audiologist Juliette Sterkins, from the Hearing Loss Association of America with a thought-provoking talk entitled: “It’s not about loops as it is about hearing loss” which drew on much of her extensive five-year experience in hearing loop advocacy.

She also gave an insight into why hearing loops haven’t moved forward as quickly as might have been expected.

“People don’t understand hearing loss, hearing aid users don’t understand hearing loss and they don’t understand why they can’t hear using their hearing aids,” Juliette told delegates at the Winter Garden.