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      Improving attitudes to hearing loss - strategy research

      A central part of the Public Attitudes and Equality group’s work was identifying the best approach to changing attitudes and/or behaviour towards hearing loss.

      By: Jo Taylor | 13 October 2017

      To identify the importance of attitude change among those we support, we carried out a major survey, which strongly reinforced the need for change; 76% want Action on Hearing Loss to improve public understanding of the barriers to communication faced by people with hearing loss. This was the number one priority for our supporters of the issues that we asked about.

      Among our focus groups, people also clearly wanted us to reduce stigma: “Stigma is one of the overarching issues for people with hearing loss. I would like to see Action on Hearing Loss change that.” “I would like to see a campaign to normalise hearing loss in the same way other charities campaign for people with mental health issues.”

      As a group, we decided to approach external organisations with a track record in successful attitude and behaviour change campaigns, to gain insight into approaches that had worked elsewhere. We were delighted by the supportive response we received from other charities within the sector who agreed to speak to us, including the National Autistic Society, NSPCC, Stroke Association, Scope and the Time to Change campaign.

      The interviews uncovered some clear themes in approaches to campaign development, execution and measurement, providing us with insight into the level of change it is possible to achieve on a range of budgets.

      Common themes included:

      • Clarity of target audience: The importance of breaking down the ‘general public’ audience and targeting relevant segments, based on evidence of whose attitudes most need changing, (for example, men aged 18-25).
      • Clear and simple aims and messaging: Clear aims and messaging, based on robust insight, enabled campaigns to resonate, encouraged change in the target audience and enabled specific measures for tracking success.
      • Importance of video content: Effective video content was cited as a big driver for engagement due to its impact and shareability.
      • In it for the long term: Our conversations confirmed that it takes many years to achieve attitudinal change, and realistic targets and effective impact measures should be set. Even multi-million pound campaigns, run over decades, can expect to see an increase of positive attitudes of about 10%.


      This research has provided us with fantastic insight into some of the key ingredients for achieving attitude change, which will be invaluable as we devise and roll out our new strategy. We’d like to thank all the organisations that supported our research.

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