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Audio guides accessible to the hard of hearing

Escher in The Palace has had its audio guides for visitors made accessible to the hard of hearing. A specially developed technology was used to this end. The launch has been held in honour of World Hearing Day on 3 March.

Listening to an audio guide is challenging for people with hearing difficulties. Audus, a Dutch start-up seeking to improve the lives of those experiencing hearing loss, has developed a technology to help them. Escher in The Palace’s audio guides have now been edited with the software Knisper, making them much easier to comprehend. This improvement will be audible for everyone, including people who wear hearing aids. People who are not quite so aware that their hearing is deteriorating will particularly benefit. Knisper will even be beneficial to visitors without hearing difficulties, especially if there is a lot of background noise.

Managing Director Paul Broekhoff is proud that Escher in The Palace is in a position to offer this technology to visitors:

‘It goes without saying that we’re keen to ensure that everyone can enjoy the work of M.C. Escher. This technology will enable a much wider group of people to listen to an audio guide at Escher in The Palace, immersing them all the more in the wonderful world of Escher. We’ve already got a version of our Highlights tour specially for blind and visually impaired visitors too. It provides a comprehensive audio description to familiarise them with Escher’s work.’

Escher in The Palace offers two English audio guides: a Highlights tour encompassing 14 of Escher’s most significant works and the ‘Emma’s Winter Palace’ tour on the magnificent Lange Voorhout location. The audio guides will now be more readily comprehensible to users, even if their hearing is not quite as sharp as it used to be. These tours can be followed using your own headphones and mobile phone and are available on the website or via izi.TRAVEL. The Highlights tour is available in eight languages: Dutch, English, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Ukrainian. The Winter Palace tour is available in three languages: Dutch, English and German. The Highlights tour for the blind and visually impaired is available in Dutch.

M.C. Escher, Self-Portrait, woodcut, November 1923

Hearing loss
In the Netherlands, more than two million people are experiencing hearing loss, for the most part age-related. The latest figures from the WHO suggest that over 1.5 billion people worldwide are affected. These people often resort to using hearing aids, but not all of them do. Acceptance of deteriorating hearing is a process that can take years. Hearing aids tend to enter the picture at a later stage. And yet they are no panacea. Hearing continues to be a day-to-day struggle for this group of people, particularly from a social perspective. Hence Escher in The Palace is proud of this solution, which will help both the hard of hearing and those with sharper hearing on their visit to the museum.