Hearing access specialists
Hearing access specialists

Illustration of three people sitting a meeting table

Survey research findings

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.

Read a summary of the findings

Read the full report and see the data tables

Ordinary things are stopping people from hearing well

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:

  • Levels of noise and lack of quiet areas
  • Simultaneous discussions being held in the same room
  • People not speaking loudly or clearly enough
  • Acoustics of the room
  • Noise from equipment, passing traffic, background music
  • Poor or no use of microphones
  • Being too far from the speaker
  • Failure to provide properly working hearing loops

See more in our blog post

People feel strongly

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 acoustics

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.

Other difficulties

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.

We must not forget …

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.

Quick poll

Have you ever experienced difficulties in hearing/following what’s being said at any events or meetings you have attended?

View Results

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A focused approach

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.

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