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Survey: Only 1 in 20 with hearing loss can complete tasks over phone

A new survey, commissioned by BT in partnership with the UK Council on Deafness, has revealed that only 1 in 20 people who are deaf or have a hearing loss can complete tasks over the phone.

The impact of this results in 70% asking friends and family members asking for help with basic calls.

Although digital technologies, such as social media or web chat are increasingly being used by the deaf community, phone calls remain an essential form of communicating for 80%, with 46% calling businesses at least once a week.

However, for many, the calling experience for everyday tasks such as booking appointments (90%), paying bills (53%) or purchasing products and services (53%), is poor. Certain services, such as healthcare and banking, are inaccessible for a quarter of the deaf community.

The biggest barrier (78%) to a successful call is frontline staff who are not trained or are inexperienced at taking calls from deaf customers. Automated transfer services that are inaudible and a lack of technology available to help handle calls were also highlighted as an issue in the survey results.

With a range of unique challenges facing them, 89% of those in the deaf community said that businesses and organisations need to do more to make their services more accessible.

When unable to complete a phone call with a business, almost 70% of respondents said that they have to physically go to the store and a further 18% said that making phone calls to businesses leaves them feeling like they are not valued.

The research has been revealed the same week as the Next Generation Text service provided by BT – which helps people with hearing and speech difficulties communicate over the phone – is rebranded to Relay UK.

To read more about the survey, visit BT’s website.