What we say about our hearing loss

What we say about our hearing loss
Recently Communication (Australia) conducted a study among people who have some kind of hearing loss to find out the things we need, how we communicate and what barriers we find because of our hearing loss.

The study was made up of 47% of people who said they were hard of hearing, 30% Deaf, 17% who said they had an acquired hearing loss, 5% of people who were hearing and 1% who were speech impaired.

When asked what we found our three main barriers to communication in our every day life number 1 was attending social events (no surprise there!). The second was going to movies (and again that’s what I would expect.) The third was a little more surprise as it was Interacting with banks and government departments.

A major need was lack of information about communication technologies. 50% of us didn’t know how to find information – although Google and World of Mouth are the main places we go for information. This validates having sites such as BellaOnline and the Cochlear Awareness Network as well as the need for community groups like Better Hearing Australia.

A common frustration was training plus the financial cost of access to existing services. For instance, if you want to search Google for information you have to have access to a computer, training in how to use one and the wherewithal to be able to do so. So many hearing impaired/deaf people have not had good job opportunities which means their financial liquidity is limited.

The study suggests that in Australia alone the Deaf and Hard of hearing number almost 8 million people. This will be one person in 4 by 2050. As expected though, the need for communication technology increases with age with <>66% of those over 65 using it.

A big change (but no surprise) is that technology plays a bit part in our ability to communicate. When I went deaf there was nothing which supported me in my efforts to communicate. But these days with SMS, email, Facebook and all the devices on which we can use to communicate it is making it easier for the deaf/hard of hearing. 46% of people in this survey felt they were supported with technology at work. However, 31% didn’t go to work social functions because of the communication difficulties. Last night I went to a work Christmas party. It was held in a Truck wash Bay (a huge empty shed with incredibly high roof). It was difficult for me to hear because the echo, the babble of 60 people talking, the clatter of plates, sizzling of the spit plus lighting was poor and frequently the people I was talking to were back lit and at times all I could see was the shape of their head. As the evening wore on, it became harder and harder for me to concentrate to communicate well.

The study concluded by confirming we have a need to address and find solutions to our barriers and we have a high satisfaction with using smart devices (phones/tablets/computers) on a daily basis to help us communicate better

The details of the study can be found at www.conexu.com.au/images/PDF/CXU_NUNA_Infographic_Final_Web.pdf

You Should Also Read:
Hearing loss statistics
Hearing loss statistics UK & USA
Hearing loss support groups

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