Public Loop Systems – The Netherlands

Fifteen theatres, 4 cinemas and 3 places of worship offered feedback in this research.
1 Accessibility
Of the 4 cinemas only 2 had induction loops, and only one of these had a system in place that was approved by the hearing institute. Two churches had induction loops in place and one mosque used a sound amplification box due to cost. Of the 15 theatres, 10 offered an assistive loop system (ALS), 9 of which were based on IR technology and one on FM technology. Only one service mentioned the sign that they displayed indicating to users that the hearing institute approved of their ALS. All employees questioned were aware of the loop system installed. Some employees mentioned the fact that they were instructed to mention that the system was in place at the ticket sales booth. Awareness of dead spots and how to deal with these was not seen in the majority of feedback received however 3 theatres did report having seating plans that highlighted seats in poor reception areas that were subsequently not offered to deaf or hard of hearing people.
2 Maintenance and Service
Maintenance and testing of theatre systems were variable. Two theatres employed a regular firm to check up and maintain their system. Others relied on users returning or reporting equipment that was not in working order. Some services did walk around to ensure that their system was working and one service provider had a piece of equipment to test whether the system was working or not. The 2 churches included regularly had their loop checked by external firms.
3 Customer feedback and complaints
Most complaints received with the theatre systems concerned maintenance of system equipment with flat or disconnected batteries causing problems. Inadequate staff instruction on how to use equipment was also mentioned as a complaint. Complaints received in cinemas concerned quality and strength of the transmitted signal.
4 Overall Conclusions
When designing an alternative wireless link for deaf and hard of hearing people it is important to consider the current state of lack of adequate awareness, monitoring and servicing of existing assistive systems in place. It is not going to be enough to merely provide a new system in the future as the findings presented in this section suggest that lack of public awareness of such systems is an additional barrier that will need to be dealt with on top of providing the technology itself.