Nearly one out of every five Oregon visitors identify as having accessibility needs.  Unfortunately, one out of every five travelers with accessibility needs has also experienced poor customer service in the past two years.


Many of us can relate to a bad travel experience, as one in every five Americans has traveled with a person who has a disability in the past two years.  That’s why there's such broad support from all U.S. travelers in investing in better servicing travelers with disabilities. 
There is a real need to deliver more complete, accurate, and relevant information across a range of content types.  We want to ensure you're not only ready to welcome travelers with hearing loss but ready to welcome a travel accessibility market that's growing to nearly 31 million people by 2028.

Update your Listings


(If you haven't claimed your Google Business profile, watch this tutorial video here.  Instruction starts at exactly the 1:00 mark.  Your Google Business Profile will change based on the category of your business.  Do note that some business categories do not include "assistive hearing loop" as an option.  If you are running into this issue, please contact


When telling guests how to search Google Maps for hearing loops:  

  • On a smartphone, open a Google Maps listing, under the photos, scroll to the right to find the “About” tab. Then click on “About” and scroll down to reveal the Accessibility Attribute; it will be listed under details.  

  • On a computer, open a Google Maps listing and click on the right arrow next to the location description.

Also consider updating other local listing sites, such as: 

  • TripAdvisor 

  • Yelp  

  • Apple Maps  

  • Bing Places  

  • YellowPages

.. and talk to your partners about adjusting your listing on their webpage:

Update Online Travel Agencies (OTAs):  Make sure to update your hearing loop accommodation per your 3rd-party booking account dashboard.  Also leverage accessibility-centric booking platforms, such as 

That way, you can tap into both platforms' growing +50K community of travelers with disabilities, their families, and friends.  Also, you can manage the accessibility of tours and activities in an organized, accurate, and legitimate way.  


(Interested in additional Google My Business training?  Thanks to Travel Oregon, you can get free access to Locl, a Portland-based online business listings platform.)

Update your Website


After searching for your business, visitors will want to look through your website for more information before booking.  Photography, reviews, and accessibility descriptions are the top three resources most helpful to travelers when planning trips. 

Showcase accessibility-centric photography:  Take a photo of your hearing loop system when a customer and front desk staff are interacting with the system.

A masked ticket agent helps a masked patron at a ticket counter. A hearing loop icon is posted on the wall indicating that the facility is looped.
Example photo of a guest and staff interaction with the hearing loop

Make sure the photo is in focus, well-lit, and has no alterations or excessive use of filters. 

The image should represent what happens when someone is using the hearing loop – so potential guests can envision themselves interacting with staff.

Leverage reviews:  Visitors rely on customer reviews to know whether your business is consistent with the services you’re marketing.  Having the right keywords in these reviews also boost your business’s visibility online when people search for them.  Encourage guests to leave positive reviews that include keywords about your hearing loop system, such as:

  • hearing aid

  • hearing loop

  • hearing accessible

  • T-coil

  • telecoil

Add accessibility descriptions:  Similar to reviews, using the right terminology and imagery on your website will help make your business the top result when people search for accessibility online.  Place the "accommodations for people with hearing loss" blue symbol on your website.  Use 'accessibility' keywords and phrases to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) such as:

  • hearing aid

  • hearing looped

  • hearing aid accommodations

  • hearing loop accommodations  

  • hearing accessible

  • hearing accessibility

  • hearing looped hotels

  • hearing looped lodges

  • hearing looped meeting rooms

  • hearing accessible hotels near me

  • hearing accessible lodges near me

  • hearing accessible places to stay in lane county


Add Physical Displays:  Re-enforce that your business has hearing loss accommodations when customers visit your location. 


Place the blue, universal symbol for hearing loss accommodation on your front doors, windows, or other high visitor traffic areas.  


You can find these for sale online.  

A hearing loop logo is on the glass window of the downtown visitor center indicating that the center is looped.
Example window placement for "hearing loss accommodation" icon

Train your Employees


As visitors with accessibility needs come to your door – remember that it all goes back to making it easy for guests to get information.  For starters, below are suggestions for training employees on providing helpful information, and addressing accessibility in general. 

  • Train staff in disability awareness and ensure they are familiar with the accessible features of your business.   

  • Focus on the person, not their disability.   

  • Speak directly to the customer rather than their travel partner and/or personal assistant.   

  • Use respectful and appropriate language.

  • Reduce background noise. 

  • Avoid making assumptions—everyone is different:  Ask visitors whether they have specific needs or requirements.


For training employees on your hearing loop installation: 

Educate staff on why this hearing loop matters: People with hearing loss worry and plan how to communicate daily, in every situation.  Imagine not being able to understand…

  • Instructions from a doctor or pharmacist

  • Announcements in airports, train stations, or on public transportation

  • Your family on the telephone

  • Dialogue in a movie, play, or lecture

  • Companions at a restaurant

  • Work-related meetings

  • Your teacher, professor, or classmates

Hearing loops bring sound directly into a listener’s telecoil-enabled hearing aids or cochlear implants— giving users the clarity and understanding they otherwise cannot get.

Learn how the technology works:  Hearing loops are technically known as Audio Frequency Induction Loop Systems (AFILS), hearing loops consist of a special amplifier and a hidden copper wire that transmits sound via a magnetic field. The wire creates a “looped zone” in any size venue from a large auditorium to a taxi. The wire sends the magnetic signal to any hearing device with a telecoil within the zone. A telecoil, or t-coil, is a small, inexpensive coil of wire inside a hearing aid that allows it to become a wireless receiver.

How a hearing loop system works: A sound source such as a microphone feeds sound into an amplifier. The amplifier sends a current through one or multiple wires embedded in the floor or ceiling of a room. The current generates a magnetic field, which emanates from the wires. Tiny wire telecoms built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants pick up the magnetic signal. The hearing device converts the signal into sound customized for the listener's individual pattern of hearing loss. A hearing loop symbol lets people know the a room is looped so they can switch their hearing devices to telecom or T mode.

Learn how to communicate with customers hearing accessibility needs:  Watch this quick video on welcoming a guest who is deaf or hard of hearing.  Luckily, the steps for using the hearing loop from a front desk perspective are pretty simple: 

  • Plug it in 

  • Turn it on (and leave it on!)

  • Plug in the external microphone; set it near the person speaking 

  • Put the hearing loop as close to the visitor as possible 

As indicated in the video – staff should acknowledge that you have a hearing loop system, in which icons (as mentioned previously) should be visible leading up to and at the desk.  That way users know the room is ‘looped’ and can switch their hearing device to telecoil (or “T”) mode.  For front desk installations, the hearing loop 'zone' will be within a few feet of the microphone.  Make sure to instruct visitors to stand within that area, in order to utilize the hearing loop.
Otherwise, staff will act just as they would normally – just speak into the microphone and visitors will hear staff clearly via their telecoil hearing implant!

(Want to put you and your staff to the test?  Take the Disability Dialogue Quiz on how to have respectful interactions with people with disabilities.)

Follow Experts in Tourism Accessibility


2022 Oregon Visitor Profile, Travel Oregon
AARP Travel Study 2020, Health Today
The State of the American Traveler with Disabilities, Miles Partnership
Hearing Loop Technology, Hearing Loss Association of America

You can read more about how Lane County is a leading accessibility destination here.