Acrylic screens have appeared at almost every reception desk in response to covid-safe requirements. But without related hearing augmentation installed, it makes it harder to hear each other. If people are wearing masks as well, this makes it worse.
We are familiar with screens at ticket offices, such as train stations, where hearing augmentation systems are mandatory. An article by Bruce Bromley explains how these new reception desk screens contravene the building code if they don’t have hearing augmentation. When businesses installed new screen, few, if any, thought about the communication problems they would cause. And if they did, they perhaps thought we could all live with it. We need respond to this issue because being covid-safe looks like being a new normal.
Any service or business that recently installed an acrylic screen at reception should look at finding a hearing augmentation system. It will benefit the receptionist and the customer. Plug and play solutions are available where there is a microphone and speaker on both sides of the screen. I suspect that these screens will not disappear even if and when covid does. It’s all part of adjusting to the “new normal”.
Editor’s comment: Sometimes I find myself or the receptionist ducking around the screen to hear and to be heard. So the screens only work some of the time.