Manx Telecom has suspended a service designed to aid those with hearing impairments.

Since 2018, the company has been providing the bolt-on clearSound, which has been described as a ‘hearing aid from the sky’.

It enhances the clarity and quality of mobile calls for those with hearing impairments by linking individuals’ personal hearing profiles with their mobile devices.

Lucy Buxton, chief executive officer at Manx Deaf Society, said: ‘It has made phone conversations much easier to follow.

‘It makes the world of difference, when I was using the phone, I couldn’t follow conversations properly, but with clearSound I could enjoy having phone conversations.’

Users of clearSound were informed that Manx Telecom was going to suspend the service from November 1.

According to Manx Deaf Society, not all of the clearSound users were informed that the service was being withdrawn.

A Manx Telecom spokesperson said: ‘The clearSound bolt-on has been provided free of charge to mobile users with hearing difficulties for a number of years.

‘Following the closure of the UK operation Audacious in 2020, Manx Telecom has been in dispute with the technology owner and provider, and unfortunately it is no longer possible to continue with this service.’

Mrs Buxton said: ‘There are no effective alternatives - it is a world first.

‘It is difficult when you become accustomed to a piece of technology, which has opened up the world to you as it means you can use the phone as others do, and now it’s going.

‘In the past I had to text my husband when he was away, I would avoid calling him. However, it is much harder to understand nuances through text.’

A member of Manx Deaf Society said: ‘I didn’t realise how much difference it made until the notification of the service stopping letter arrived.

‘I will have to revert back to asking people to email me, particularly for business transactions, and I am feeling anxious about making calls.’

A Manx Telecom spokesperson added: ‘While Manx Telecom regrets the discontinuation of clearSound for its users, there is a wide range of alternative products available to support the hard of hearing including voice to text and amplification applications.’

Mrs Buxton explained, one of the alternatives is a relay service, where instead of hearing what someone is saying, there is a third-party typing it out.

She said: ‘The Isle of Man service is provided by BT, however it is not working here.

‘Without clearSound and the relay service, it will make it very difficult for those with hearing impairments to make calls.’

Another member of Manx Deaf Society said: ‘It is hard to explain to third parties who don’t have to deal with hearing loss on a daily basis, but something like Manx Telecom’s clearSound can actually be a lifesaver.’