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Access for All in Retail

We’re calling on retailers to make their stores accessible for deaf people and those with hearing loss – during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The problem

For too long, retail spaces have been inaccessible for deaf people and those with hearing loss – whether down to background music, a lack of hearing loops, or no deaf awareness training for staff. Breaking down these barriers is long overdue.

The pandemic has only added to these barriers, with face coverings, physical partitions and social distancing creating a more difficult experience.

What we want to change

We want retailers to take action and make their stores accessible for the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss. We have sent an open letter to some of the biggest retailers, urging them to take our four simple steps to becoming more accessible for our communities. These are:

  1. To minimise the barriers created by face coverings.
  2. To reduce background noise, including piped music.
  3. To use hearing loops.
  4. To provide staff with deaf awareness training.

We want to support retailers to make these changes. Our Louder than Words training and services can help businesses become more accessible.

The campaign so far

In July, we launched our campaign by asking supporters to sign our open letter, setting out the importance of accessibility in retail stores.

More than 1,800 of you signed the letter and we sent it to the head offices of some of the biggest retailers across the UK.

Download and read our open letter

We have started to receive some positive responses from retailers and we will continue to engage with these head offices and make the case for changes in policy to support deaf people and those with hearing loss.

Get involved

We’re now working on the next phase of this campaign, which will focus on raising awareness and seeing change on the shop floor. We will need your help to reach retailers in communities across the country.

Sign up to our Campaigns Network to stay up to date with our campaigns and find out how to get involved.