Sam Evans was crowned the champion of Channel 5’s reality TV show Big Brother last night, and celebrated becoming the first winner who has hearing loss.
The production company behind the 10 week television show, Endemol, has described the modifications and changes created through their work with charity Action on Hearing Loss which ensured Sam Evans had a true experience of being a Big Brother housemate.
Katherine Hancock, Action on Hearing Loss senior access consultant said: ‘’We worked together with Endemol prior to Sam entering the Big Brother House to ensure that all his access and communication needs were considered and met.
“Changes were then made to the Big Brother House to ensure that Sam had the same equality of access as other housemates, with Endemol taking on our recommendations to ensure that Sam had the same chance of winning.
“We were in constant communication during the course of the show, discussing products and assistive technologies that could benefit Sam and people with hearing loss, while also helping the production company to be accessible to its staff and customers with a hearing loss on a long term basis. We urge organisations to take Endemol’s lead.”
A spokesman from Endemol said: “Sam has been a brilliant housemate and is a deserving winner. Working with the team at Action for Hearing Loss has been a good experience and was invaluable in allowing us to make sure Sam had everything he needed during the his time in the Big Brother House.”
After making Big Brother staff and contestants deaf aware, Action on Hearing Loss is now urging more organisations to mark their commitment to hearing loss by signing up to their Louder than Words charter.
The best practice charter aims to help and celebrate organisations who are striving to offer excellent levels of service and accessibility for customers of employees who are deaf or hard of hearing.
If you’re worried about you or your hearing contact your local Hidden Hearing branch. Hidden Hearing offers free hearing tests at its 60 branches nationwide. To book a test Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.
For more information visit: http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/