One of the things that I have never been able to deal with being deaf, is being able to communicate effectively via the telephone/mobile. It has always been a struggle for me, and being deaf from birth, this is something that I have just had to ‘put up with’.
The times where I have had to be on the phone, I have had to turn the volume up to full, and have the speaker mode on. Not exactly ideal for public situations! Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t all ‘woe is me’ and an X Factor sob story, as when I am able to communicate on the phone, it’s in a very quiet environment and the person calling me on the other line is usually fully aware that I am deaf so take that into consideration.
I had recently been contacted by Audacious, a new mobile network that aims to optimise sounds for people with hearing loss, to make their calls easier to understand. When this opportunity arose, at first I was sceptical but was rather intrigued to see if it would actually work and most of all, help me to hear on the phone better!
How Audacious works
To set up a profile and in order to get the correct settings for your phone in terms of volume, you can go to the Audacious website and take a ‘Sound Check’. All you need for this is a computer and your mobile phone. The test begins by taking a few basic details from you and then the Sound Check will ring your phone and the test will start.
If you have been to an audiology appointment before where you’re sat in a soundproof room or booth and you have to wear headphones with a clicker to click every time you hear a sound, it’s exactly like that! There are a few different sounds which get played at different levels of volume and frequency, so every time you hear a sound, you can either hit the space bar or click the button. The test takes roughly just under 5 minutes and once the test is complete, Audacious will then determine the best level of volume for you to be able to use your phone on based on your Sound Check.
Once your phone has been adjusted to your results from your Sound Check, you do have the option of being able to select your own volume also. If you feel that what Audacious have set your phone to is perhaps a little quieter than you’d like, or a little louder, then you can adjust this yourself by selecting the volume on the dial to the level you feel most comfortable with. To take a Sound Check for yourself, click here.
Now that my Sound Check was complete, Audacious then set my mobile phone’s volume to the volume matching the Sound Check automatically.
I trialled the Sound Check out in my bedroom with no noise or sound around me and where the signal coverage was strongest. I found it was better to trial this out this way rather than somewhere noisy and busy, so that I could really concentrate on the sounds being played to me through the Sound Check in order for me to get the best results. I then called my friend and found that it was louder than I had had prior to taking the Sound Check, which made things clearer and easier for me however, with that being said, whilst out and about in public, I still couldn’t hear as well. Perhaps this is more due to the background noise and hustle and bustle of everything else around me rather than the phone and volume itself.
I took the Sound Check 3 times in total, just to see if there was any difference in each test but my results stayed the same throughout and have since found the experience to have helped me in terms of dealing with the phone when in a quiet environment!
I found the whole experience of using Audacious quite exciting, innovative and most importantly, helpful! To find out more about Audacious, click here.