The Ear Symbol

The ear symbol is often displayed in shops, banks, doctors’ surgeries and other public buildings.

The ear symbol shows that some staff members are trained to communicate with deaf and hearing impaired people. 

However it does not always mean that the person/people who were trained are always available when you need them!  Or they may have left and new people have not been trained.

Wherever the ear symbol and a letter ‘T’ is displayed, this indicates there should be an induction loop which amplifies sound for people with a ‘T’ switch on their hearing aids.  

You may need to ask for this facility to be switched on.

You need to switch your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting to use this facility.

The colours can vary – sometimes the background is yellow.

You may also see this sign on some public telephones. 

This means that the telephone should be compatible with hearing aids with a ‘T’ switch.

You need to switch your hearing aid to the ‘T’ setting/programme to use this facility.

1. I always look for the ear symbol in shops, banks and so on. Many people find that where staff do know how to help then they are really helpful.

2. I always go to establishments with the ear symbol and thank them afterwards if there has been anyone there who has helped me.

3. When a ear symbol sticker is displayed it may mean that they have only one staff member trained, and nobody else in the shop has any idea how to help. So it is worth seeking out that person.

4. If the ear symbol is only displayed on one counter, it may mean only one assistant is trained.

5.  One person said, “I always go to the cashier or till with the ear symbol.  If it is working, I give praise.  If it is not working I make a point of speaking to the manager and finding why not.”  I then go back a few weeks later and see if it has been fixed.  If not, I write a letter pointing out that they are not meeting the DDA requirements.”

6. Some people say that they often find that even if a place has a loop system installed it is not working or the staff do not know how to switch it on/use it.  In these cases some people like to let the manager know so that the problem can be rectified to help both themselves and other deaf people in the future.

7. If you’d like to try the loop but don’t have or are unsure if you have a loop programme, speak to your audiologist.