More than 1,100 people, aged 18 to 80 plus, answered questions about their experiences of making and receiving phone calls. 60% of all respondents were hearing aid users, while 8% used a cochlear implant or other device.
The survey was carried out in August and September 2017 by Ideas for Ears, a user-led social enterprise that gathers data about the day-to-day experiences of people with hearing loss.
The findings suggested the following:
- Difficulties with phone use increase with degree of hearing loss
- Phone service providers could do more
- Video calls are easiest to hear
- People with moderate to severe hearing loss are the most frustrated and stressed
- People with moderate to severe hearing loss are most eager for new solutions
- Many people are actively looking for solutions
- Awareness of NGTS isn’t as widespread as it could be
- Uptake of digital technology is lower than it could be
- Phone service providers could boost public perception by introducing new solutions
- People would be willing to switch to get enhanced clarity on the phone
Sally Shaw, director of Ideas for Ears, said: “The findings suggest that large numbers of people across the UK are struggling to hear well on the phone and that they want new solutions to allow them to hear more easily. Having hearing loss doesn’t mean that you should automatically accept hearing poorly on the phone. Solutions exist already to make things easier but these typically require you to use, and normally to also purchase, assistive equipment, a different phone or Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.
“This could all change with the power and versatility of today’s digital technology. With investment from phone service providers, it is perfectly feasible to see a future where phone users are able to receive personalised sound so that phone calls sound clearer and crisper. This could involve phone numbers and/or handsets being matched to the users’ individual hearing profile so tone and volume of voices are adjusted automatically as the call takes place.
“The results of this questionnaire strongly suggest that there is demand for new solutions to help people hear well on the phone, and that people will even be open to switching provider in order to receive clearer sounding calls. It is now for the telecoms sector, and the array of individual phone service companies, to determine how they will respond.”
For a full list of results from the research, visit: https://www.ideasforears.org.uk/blog/phone-calls-are-causing-frustration-and-stress