All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Sunday, April 3, 2011

People with Hearing Impairment and Who Are Deaf: Creating an Enabling Tourism Environment through Hearing Augmentation

Simone Fullager’s (2011, p. 123) article provided an understanding of the role that tourism could play in the recovery and re-empowerment of women with depression through providing a liminal space that “gave them hope, desire and the vitality to escape the weight of depression”. Simone’s paper contributes to the growing body of work on wellness tourism and provides insights into the intersection of the “double whammy” of gender and disability that has been explored more fully in a leisure context (Henderson & Bedini, 1997; Samdahl & Jekubovich, 1997). When Fullager’s paper is read in conjunction with Richards, Prichard and Morgan (2010) contribution on embodiment from a vision impairment perspective, we can see a rich new contribution to tourism that has broad application to tourism studies for considering what constitutes tourism experiences.
A group that has been omitted from the tourism literature are people with hearing impairments or who are Deaf. The definition of hearing impairment varies in different parts of the world but can be simply thought of as those who have experienced some form of hearing loss and have access needs that require hearing augmentation. Deaf capital D is used specifically as a signifier that this group regard themselves as a distinct cultural group who are unified by the use of sign language. Quite simply people who are Deaf do not regard themselves as having a disability but as part of a separate cultural group (see Barnes & Mercer, 2010; Corker & French, 1999; Davis, 2006). However, from the tourism perspective the inclusive and enabling environments required to service the access needs of this group have received little attention in the research literature. As with mobility disability, Figure 1 presents the International Deafness Symbol that is licensed to be used for businesses that provide enabling environments through different types of hearing augmentation systems.
Figure 1: International Deafness Symbol (source: http://www.deafnessforum.org.au/index.php?q=accessible-accomodation )

At best a number of tourism studies have at least identified the group as having access needs or presented one-off experiences of the group (Cavinato & Cuckovich, 1992; Darcy & Dickson, 2009; Goodall, Pottinger, Dixon, & Russell, 2004; Ray & Ryder, 2003) or identified specific disability discrimination practices against the group (Darcy & Taylor, 2009; Kreismann & Palmer, 2001; Shaw, Veitch, & Coles, 2005; Small & Darcy, 2010). One area where some specific work has been done on the needs of the group was Darcy’s (2010) examination of the room requirements for people with disabilities in commercial accommodation. The sample included people with hearing impairments or who were Deaf. As part of the literature review and subsequent development of the Hotel Accessibility Scale six items relating to hotel room access needs of the group were included in the research. All six items were identified by the group as being essential inclusions within their hotel rooms. They were: Non audible door bell; Access to telephone typewriter (TTY); Teletext decoders; alternative format guest information; and phone with vol control and alert. Apart from these inclusions, people with a hearing impairment or Deaf also identified the importance of a positive customer service attitude, clear signage and having an evacuation orientation.
These findings supported the industry work by the Deafness Forum and the Hotel, Motel and Accommodation Association (HMAA) (2005) where the two bodies worked collaboratively to establish a set of criteria required by the industry association members to provide to the group. The HMAA established a competitive advantage for their members by providing a listing of all complying properties on the Deafness Forum website, hence, gaining the status as a preferred accommodation provider for the group. The full reference to Deafness Forum website is provided together with the inclusive practices and enabling environments required to be listed.
Deafness Forum, & HMAA. (2005). Accommodation Industry Voluntary Code of Practice for the Provision of Facilities for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Retrieved 13 Feb, 2010, from http://www.deafnessforum.org.au/index.php?q=accessible-accomodation 


EXCERPT FROM THE WEBSITE

ACCOMMODATION INDUSTRY VOLUNTARY CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE PROVISION OF FACILITIES FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED

The intention is to promote the adoption of this code as quickly as possible over a 12 month period subject to negotiating the commercial agreements for the purchase of the large quantities of equipment envisaged and widely distributing the information about alternative sources of supply. The intention is to review this Code at the end of a three-year period. A working party will be established to represent the interests of the hearing impaired and the hotel, motel and serviced apartment industry for the purposes of monitoring the progress of this voluntary code of practice and any evolution or refinement necessary that becomes apparent prior to the three-year time frame for a formal review. The working party is to meet bi-annually.

All PROPERTIES

That all hotels, motels, and serviced apartments who are members of the HMAA will provide hearing access facilities and special services to guests as follows:
·         Ensure appropriate means are in place to ensure that all Deaf and hearing impaired guests and staff will be alerted to any danger (e.g. fire, bomb threat), and to any drill or system test, within the premises at the same time as all other guests and staff. (Registration card to include “If you are likely to have any difficulty hearing alarms, or evacuating the building in the event of an alarm, please tick this box.”)
·         Provide a telephone with built in or clip on amplifier, telecoil coupler and flashing light alert
·         Will be provided with minimum specifications for the purchase of new telephones which will include a built in or clip on amplifier, telecoil coupler and flashing light alert and all properties replacing or purchasing telephones will, whenever possible and practical, adopt this new standard.
·         Provide a television capable of accessing free to air captioning.
·         Where pay TV access is provided, ensure that available captioning may be accessed.
·         Will be provided with minimum specifications for the purchase of new televisions which will include the provision for captioning and all properties replacing or purchasing televisions will, whenever possible and practical, adopt this new minimum standard.
·         Ensure that all TV signals carrying captioning are not stripped of captioning by pay movie or pay TV equipment


PROPERTIES IN EXCESS OF 50 ROOMS

For all properties with 50 or more guest rooms, one piece of each of the following items of equipment will be available without notice at the time of check in. For all properties with 100 rooms or more two such sets of equipment will be available without notice. All properties will undertake to make additional kits available with 48 hours notice. All properties will co-operate with each other in the loan of equipment to nearby properties when additional units are required.
·         A portable non-audible door alarm.
·         A television capable of accessing free to air captioning.
·         A telephone with built in or clip on amplifier, telecoil coupler and flashing light alert.
·         A text telephone or access to email.
·         A vibrating alarm clock.


PROPERTIES WITH MEETING ROOMS

Those properties that provide meeting rooms in excess of 100 sqm will ensure that they can provide functioning assistive listening systems (ALS) to enable all participants in events in all function or meeting rooms to clearly hear all speakers without reverberation or background noise. These might be Induction Loop (IL), Frequency Modulated (FM), or Infrared (IR) systems.

For further information see:
Deafness Forum, & HMAA. (2005). Accommodation Industry Voluntary Code of Practice for the Provision of Facilities for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Retrieved 13 Feb, 2010, from http://www.deafnessforum.org.au/index.php?q=accessible-accomodation 

New Research Study - Get Involved

To redress the lack of specific tourism research on people with hearing impairments or who are Deaf, the Auckland University of Technology's New Zealand Tourism Research Institute is currently conducting a study on this group. Their call for participants is now included together with the contact details of those involved. We wish the study well and encourage people who have a hearing impairment or Deaf to participate.
University survey of people with mild to total hearing loss and their tourism experiences and needs

Do you or someone you know have a hearing loss, whether minor or total?  Then we would like to learn about your tourism experiences and what you as a person with hearing impairment want in the way of tourism, travel and hospitality products and services.  We will use the feedback you give us to inform the tourism industry about the needs of people who are hard-of-hearing.  Whatever country you live in, please help us by taking a survey that can be found at:

Your input will be gratefully appreciated and will help to improve access not only in tourism, but in other walks of life.  This is the first such survey of its kind.  Your input is anonymous and your answers cannot be traced back to you. 

If you know of anyone else with a hearing loss who may be interested in taking the survey, or if you are an organization, can you please pass on the link to the survey? 

Thank you in advance for your help.

Please forgive cross-postings.  If you no longer wish to receive emails from this sender, please reply to this with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Survey: The Tourism Experiences and Needs of People with Hearing Loss

Dr. Sandra Rhodda, PhD
Research Programme Leader Access Tourism
Auckland University of Technology,
New Zealand Tourism Research Institute
Private Bag 92006,
Mail Number B39
Auckland 1142,
New Zealand
Ph: (649) 921 9999 ext 8977

References


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