A survey of 2,007 British adults conducted by Opinium in July 2019 reveals that more than two thirds of British adults struggle to hear or be heard on mobile calls. With one in ten experiencing difficulties regularly. Of those with hearing loss, 9 in 10 were left feeling frustrated and nearly 7 in 10 feeling stressed.
Almost a quarter of Brits report avoiding answering the phone altogether, due to concerns of not being able to hear the person on the other end leading to a widespread ‘Phone Fear’. Phone fear is the fear of making or receiving phone calls. The phenomenon is leading to one in five experiencing feelings of isolation as a result.
University of Cambridge hearing scientist Professor Brian Moore said “Holding a telephone at the entrance to the ear canal can make it difficult to understand what is being said for people who wear behind-the-ear hearing aids.”.
The poll revealed a widespread lack of understanding of hearing health in the UK. More than half reported having either never having had a hearing test or that they can’t remember the last time they did. In comparison, nearly two thirds had taken an eyesight test in the last year. This is in spite of Action on Hearing Loss data revealing that over 11 million across the UK are currently living with hearing loss. This number is set to rise to around 15.6 million by 2035.
What can you do about phone fear?
Thankfully new technology is finally starting to take steps in the right direction by considering and including accessibility.
With text-based apps like RelayUK, a third party translates what someone is saying into text, which you can then read and reply to. But this does, unfortunately, mean that someone else has to listen to your calls.
Phone handsets offer different audio quality, so you could try changing the type of handset that you use. Handsets like Doro offer extra volume control, extra-loud ringers, and hearing aid compatibility.
iPhones allow you to stream directly to Bluetooth aids. You can also adjust the streaming settings and the mic volume from your phone, depending on your environment. Apple have also created a “Noise app” which tracks the decibel levels around you throughout the day to let you know when you’re around noises that could potentially damage your hearing.
Or, you could stick with the handset that you know and love, and try changing your mobile service provider. Audacious’ SIM card is aimed at helping anyone who experiences difficulty hearing calls on their mobile. Whether because you’re in a crowded place or because of hearing ability.
To experience the Audacious technology, visit our website and take a quick, free Sound Check to receive your own personal hearing profile. This will tell you how you hear over your mobile and can give you an idea of what your current hearing level is like. If you like what you hear, then you can order a personalised SIM card tailored to the individual way you hear. There is no need for you to upgrade or replace your handset. Simply swap your existing SIM card with a new Audacious one.