Why people with hearing issues in Sheffield are asking for change

9 May 2019

Jan Kitching and her friend were meeting for breakfast in Sheffield in February when they decided to go to a well-known coffee shop as Jan had seen it in advertised in a Waitrose magazine.

When they arrived they found it quite busy and decided to go to the table area to order. After half an hour Joan’s friend had to remove her hearing aid as she hear Jan.

When their food arrived they felt that the background noise “got louder and louder”. As soon as they finished their food they decided to leave.

When paying Jan’s friend mentioned why they were leaving to who they believe was the owner. He apologised to them and said that they may have found it better in the front room of the restaurant where upholstered seats absorb the sound better.

They both then went to Atkinson’s cafe where they knew it would be quieter.

Ms Kitching, Stockport said: “It was lovely but full of old people.

“We don’t want to be pigeonholed and want to eat in a mixed age environment.”

Jan Kitching is just one of the many stories of people having left a restaurant, café, or pub early because of the noise. A survey by Action on Hearing Loss in 2017 found that 91% of people would not return to a place where the noise levels were too high.

Action on Hearing Loss recommend checking whether the establishment is suitable for you. Whether that be checking their website, or contacting them in advance. If the experience was particularly bad then Action on Hearing Loss also suggests what to do.

Shefnews called a selection of cafés, some did not want to comment but Marmadukes in Sheffield has a quieter room upstairs which they’ve stated that they would be able to turn off the music in but they don’t have soft furnishing.

Made by Jonty also in Sheffield stated that though they don’t have designated quiet spaces they do usually put people that are hard of hearing in their upstairs area as it is quieter. The Grind Cafe does have music playing but its not very loud. They don’t have furnishing and it is light enough to lip read with necessary. All spoken to do not have tables with hearing loops available.

It is not a legal requirement for cafés or restaurants to follow these suggests by Action on Hearing Loss.

More information can be found on their website: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/live-well/everyday-life/visiting-cafe-pubs-and-restaurants/

Written by Abbie White

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