Credit: Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility
The Survey & The Report
Earlier this year, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), University of British Columbia (UBC), and Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility worked together to collect information from Canadians who experience hearing loss and deafness about how the pandemic has impacted their daily lives.
They received insights from close to 700 responses who noted the demand for universal captioning, impacts of masks on communication, and the ability to receive accessible information from the government and media outlets on COVID-19.
The results from this report will provide a foundation to better understand the impact the pandemic has had on our communities and to ensure that moving forward, we can address these challenges as we continue to manage COVID-19 throughout the recovery phase and beyond.
Key Findings in The Report
- More than 80% of individuals with hearing loss found it difficult to understand others with face masks.
- 60% of individuals reported that their mental health has been negatively affected as a result of the pandemic.
- At least one-quarter of individuals with higher severity of hearing loss were unable to obtain hearing health services due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Only 16% of respondents reported obtaining hearing or hearing aid services remotely from a specialist such as an audiologist or hearing instrument practitioner.
- Over 60% of respondents reported difficulty in understanding others who are behind plexiglass barriers.
- At least 60% of respondents indicated that having captioning available would help improve communication with others in video calls and at virtual events.
In May 2021, the research team hosted a webinar where the principal investigators, Dr. Brenda Poon, Wavefront Centre Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Professor at UBC, and Dr. Lorienne Jenstad, Associate Professor at UBC School of Audiology & Speech Sciences, presented the preliminary findings from their work.