Mobile phone network Audacious is launching in the UK to provide a solution for users with a range of hearing needs, using technology created in partnership with audiologists to personalise calls to the user’s unique hearing profile.
While Audacious was designed with hearing loss in mind, it also has the potential to help those who struggle with sound quality on their mobile and find phone calls stressful. The network launches as new research carried out by Opinium from Audacious suggests that nearly 70% of Brits revealed they have struggled to be heard or hear clearly on phone calls. These unclear calls leave those surveyed frustrated (18%) and stressed (17%), with figures rising to 90% and 70% respectively for those with hearing loss.
Professor Brian Moore, a hearing researcher from University of Cambridge, 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. Audacious replaces the function of the hearing aid by including signal processing to compensate for hearing loss in the mobile network. The processing is also tailored to the individual hearing ability of the user, by means of an initial hearing test that is used to set up a personal hearing profile. This can improve intelligibility and make it easier to understand the person on the other end.”
Nearly a quarter (23%) of the UK report avoid answering the phone altogether due to concerns of not hearing the person on the other end. This has led to 17% of those surveyed experiencing feelings of isolation as a result. To help put an end to this ‘phone fear’ Audacious provides users with an optimised audio experience tailored to each individual’s hearing. The result, clearer calls, which nine in 10 people with hearing loss experienced during trials.
From today, anyone can visit the Audacious website and take a sound check to receive their own personal hearing profile. Customers can then order a SIM card tailored to the individual way they hear. There is no need for users to upgrade or replace their handset, instead they swap their existing SIM card with a new Audacious one.
Audacious was founded by Matthew Turner, who has had moderate to severe hearing loss his whole life.
He said: “Having lived with moderate to severe hearing loss since birth, I am fully aware of the emotional impact millions of people are experiencing as they struggle daily to communicate using the mobile phone. It was a real struggle to talk on the phone and it had a negative impact on both my personal and professional life. As no mobile operator was offering or appeared to be working towards a solution to this global challenge, I made it my personal mission to develop the technology that could tailor phone calls to individual hearing loss or needs and so empower people across the UK to have better, clearer conversations.”