New EN 17210 standard sets inclusive requirements for public spaces across Europe

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A new standard has been introduced to make public buildings and spaces accessible across Europe.

EN 17210 applies to all CENELEC members which include the national standards bodies and electrotechnical committees of countries from across the continent, including the United Kingdom.

The European Union has directed that all publicly-funded developments must provide accessibility.  EN 17210 will be the Standard against which conformance with accessibility requirements will be assessed.

Meeting the needs of users with hearing loss

Aimed at assisting primarily public procurers but also architects, engineers, facility managers and others, the Standard sets out minimum requirements for ‘hearing enhancements’ in public spaces.

These can include a direct wire system, an inductive loop, an infrared system, a radio frequency system and a Wifi system:

  • A hearing enhancement system shall be installed in rooms and spaces used for meetings, lectures, classes, performances, spectator sport or films
  • A hearing enhancement system should be installed at service or reception counters
  • Rooms with a system such as an induction loop should clearly indicate this with the appropriate pictogram sign
  • An inductive coupler and additional volume control to adjust amplification should be fitted into the circuitry of all public or visitor payphones and entry phones
  • Telephones that are suitable for use by hearing aid users and hearing enhancement systems should be identified by the appropriate ‘T-switch’
  • Where retail transactions take place, a cash desk equipped with an inductive hearing system should be provided
  • Induction loops shall comply with the technical values given in EN 60118-4.

The Standard recommends suitable hearing enhancement systems for groups of people in noisy environments.

It specifies the use of intercom systems, acoustics and sound absorption, and the need for maintenance to make sure people with hearing loss always have access to the space and the activity within it.

The full Standard is available from the BSI.  This information has been shared with BSI’s permission.



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