Ofcom reassures millions of people who rely on hearing technology about the upcoming sale of 4G frequencies

25 May 2017

Ofcom has published a report on how the upcoming sale of radio frequencies for 4G mobile networks could impact on the millions of people in the UK who rely on hearing equipment.

Girl with hearing aids

The report was released after a campaign last year by the National Deaf Children’s Society and UK Children’s FM Working Group. The organisations raised concerns that a proposed multi-billion pound auction of radio frequencies could cause problems for users of hearing equipment, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants.

The frequencies being auctioned are very close to those used by hearing technology and initial tests suggested that interference could cause some devices to fail altogether. 

After extensive additional testing however, the report shows that it is highly unlikely that technology such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and essential equipment that deaf children depend on will experience problems as a result of the auction of these mobile frequencies.

Susan Daniels, Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society, commented: “We are pleased that Ofcom has done such thorough testing, and taken the very real concerns of deaf people so seriously. While no testing is exhaustive and some problems may emerge after the auction, this new report from Ofcom is hugely reassuring to more than 45,000 deaf children and 9 million adults with hearing loss in the UK.”

The National Deaf Children’s Society will be publishing guidance for children who rely on hearing technology, and giving advice to parents on what to do if their children experience problems with interference.

Source: NDCS and the UK Children's FM Working Group

Contact: media@ndcs.org.uk