To: British Government

National Minimum Standard for TV Subtitles and loop systems for the deaf and hard of hearing

National Minimum Standard for TV Subtitles and loop systems for the deaf and hard of hearing

To introduce a national Minimum Standard for the provision of subtitles on all our TV programmes and on all film/TV shows dvds sold in shops.
Cinemas should also be required to have a special screening of new releases that displays subtitles.
There should also be a national minimum standard for high quality loop system provision in all public buildings eg libraries, churches, banks, schools, hotels, bus and train stations, Government and Local authority offices, company offices that ensures people who use the loop system with their hearing aids are able to receive an acceptable service.
Loop system manufacturers and installation firms should work with organisations responsible for the providing and maintaining good quality hearing loop systems.
Deaf or hard of hearing people should expect to have the same high quality hearing loop reception service whereever they are if there is a sign indicating that the service is available

Why is this important?

Subtitles, on TV programmes do not always appear. When they do they can often appear patchy or intermittent making it very difficult for deaf and hard of hearing people to follow tv programmes.
Live programmes eg news are very difficult to follow. Technology should be able to automatically put on screen words just spoken on live programmes.
Subtitles vary across TV channels. There should be a uniform minimum standard.
TV Subtitles should not be huge chunky lettering that takes up nearly a third of the screen.
People who depend on subtitles can be embarrassed by the way the size of the subtitles make it difficult for other people watching to enjoy the programme.
Subtitles should always be included on dvd/bluRay discs of TV shows and films for sale in the shops.
Loop systems
Organisations that have a loop system installed use an approved logo to indicate this. But there is no guarantee that the loop system will prove satisfactory to people who wear hearing aids.
This is because they vary enormously across the country and there is no national minimum standard for how they are supposed to work.
Many loop systems are inappropriate for the size of the building with poor training provided to office/building support staff who are often left unable to help.
People who use loop systems frequently discover that the reception they receive varies from one building to another.
There doesn't seem to be a national monitoring scheme that can ensure high standards of loop system are provided and maintained so that people who use loop systems do not need to worry about being able to hear differently wherever they go.
Hearing organisations and charities can have the ability to regulate this vital area that affects people who use hearing aids every day.
Government needs to pass the necessary laws to ensure improvements are made to both subtitling and loop systems across the UK.