Digital Switchover and Hard of Hearing Audience in Wales, the report looks at the communication barriers facing hard of hearing audiences after the digital switchover in Wales was published on Tuesday 25 November 2014.
Launched at the Senedd and hosted by Ann Jones AM, Chair of the Cross Party on Deaf Issues, the report has called for more to be done to ensure that opportunities made possible by the digital switchover are fully utilized in order to ensure a positive viewing experience for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
The report was conducted by lead researcher Dr Yan Wu, and Dr Elain Price, and Dr Leighton Evans, and was part of a research project based at the Research Institute of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University, funded by Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, BBC Wales, Bridging the Gaps Fund, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and S4C.
The study highlighted that subtitles are the most important facilitating tool for deaf and hard of hearing audiences in their understanding of television programming. Common problems associated with sound quality and subtitles affect both the wider audience as well as deaf or hard of hearing audience. However, for the deaf or hard of hearing audience, where a significant number rely on digital hearing aids (68%) and also lip read (about one third), the demand for better sound quality and better subtitling service is more acute.
Richard Williams, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, said: “People with hearing loss in Wales rely on subtitling to have equal access to TV services. This is not a luxury it is an essential service.
“There have been some improvements to subtitles, but there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure that the one-in-five people with hearing loss in Wales have equal access to TV.
“We hope broadcasters will take action and improve the quality of their subtitling as a result of the strong views in this report and we will continue to work with TV channels and decision makers in Wales, to ensure this is the case.”
Ann Jones AM, Chair of the Cross Party Group on Deaf Issues, added: “This is a comprehensive and important study into the inclusion of deaf people in broadcasting.
“Many deaf people often tell us that there is not enough provision for them and I want to see this change”.
- Tuesday 9 December 2014 15.37 GMT
- Tuesday 9 December 2014 15.44 GMT
- RIAH, Swansea University