Thank you to those who contributed to our recent survey on hearing and following things in meetings and events. The findings reveal that commonplace difficulties are causing huge frustration to people hearing loss on a very regular basis .
The findings also suggest that as a consequence of the difficulties, large numbers are missing out on important information, are not able to contribute as effectively as they could do, and are being put off attending future meetings and events.
As well as feeling frustrated, people are feeling excluded, stressed and embarrassed by the difficulties they experience.
Most people with hearing loss have the capability to hear and follow things adequately or even very well. They are not able to do so because of barriers outwith their control, many of which are quite ordinary and could be fixed in straightforward ways.
Our survey research showed the main reasons for difficulties include:
Our research illustrates that people very much want to attend and join in meetings and events but hostile hearing conditions mean they are struggling to do so. Not surprisingly, people are experiencing strong feelings, including hopelessness, helplessness, embarrassment, frustration and anger.
Noise and poor acoustics are often the main culprits. The noise generated by the babble of conversation is especially difficult. To combat this, there is a need for much better management of noise and acoustics by venues and facility managers and building designers.
Barriers are created in ordinary ways. For instance: people not speaking clearly, microphones not being used when they should be, and words and information that are easy to mishear or misunderstand not being written down. It is perhaps because they are so ordinary that they get neglected.
For some people, of course, the barriers are caused by lack of text transcription or lack of sign language provision. Their needs should not be overlooked even whilst we push for better recognition that, for the majority, the challenges are often much more ordinary.
We focus on topics and subjects where we feel we can make most impact and where we feel change or improvement is both necessary and possible. By participating in our surveys and other activities, you can help bring about the outcomes you want.