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Your rights when using public services

If you are Deaf or have hearing loss, service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments so you are able to access their services. Failure to do so could be unlawful discrimination.

In England, Scotland and Wales, the Equality Act 2010 protects against unlawful discrimination by service providers because of your deafness or hearing loss.

Those providing services to the public have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that people with disabilities are able to access their services. In Northern Ireland, this is set out in the Disability Discrimination Act, which provides similar protection.

Types of services included

Those providing services to the public include:

  • cinemas
  • cafés, restaurants and pubs
  • museums and galleries
  • television providers
  • health services.

What to expect from service providers

If you’re deaf or have hearing loss, the reasonable adjustments you can expect service providers to make include providing listening equipment such as a hearing loop or infrared system, offering subtitled television programmes and cinema screenings, or turning loud music down or off.

If you have a bad experience

If you have a bad experience you can raise your concerns directly with staff and make a complaint to the venue after your visit. This gives them a chance to resolve the problems you have raised. Posting an online review on a review site or social media can also be an effective way to have your complaint addressed.