Communications difficulties

Nearly 20 percent of the population experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives. There are many reasons why people might have a speech or language problem. Some people have lived with it since childhood. For some it might be genetic, others might develop an impairment following an injury (such as from being hit or from falling) or because of a medical condition, like a stroke.

Language difficulties are linked with specific damage to the parts of the brain responsible for understanding and using language (e.g. aphasia).

Speech difficulties are linked with altered control over the nerves and muscles responsible for speech. (e.g. apraxia/dysarthria/stammering).

It doesn't affect intelligence as people still think in the same way but are unable to communicate their thoughts easily.

Charities like the British Stammering Association and the Stroke Association have useful information on their website.

Services we can provide to support you

- Next Generation Text

For people who need to make or receive calls in which some or all of the call is made or received in text format, we offer a Next Generation Text Service that enables customers with hearing and/or speech impairments to communicate with others through telephone or textphone equipment or other devices such as PCs and tablets.

A 'relay assistant' acts in the middle to text the speech from the two people on the call. You can even link a 'TextNumber' to your existing phone number to make and receive calls without dialling a prefix.

  • Type & Read is best if you can’t hear and don't use your voice
  • Speak & Read should be used if you can't hear but do use your voice
  • Type & Hear will be most useful if you can hear but don't use your voice
  • Speak & Hear works best if you can hear and want to speak to someone who uses Next Generation Text Service.

For full details of the service and how to access it, go to ngts.org.uk or contact the Next Generation Text Service Helpdesk on 0800 7311 888 or if using a textphone or the NGT Lite app on 0800 500 888.

Calls made using the Next Generation Text Service will never be charged more than what you would have been for the same call made without using it. Those calls can also take longer than standard voice calls due to their nature and typing speed and we therefore apply a rebate to the text element of the calls. Further information is available in our Price Manual.

- Emergency SMS

People with hearing and / or speech impairment have the option of contacting the emergency services by text from their mobile. They need to register their mobile phone first with the emergency SMS service by texting the word ‘register’ to 999. Further information is available here.

- Free Priority Fault Repair Service

Sometimes, a telephone or a broadband service becomes a vital lifeline for customers. We offer a free priority fault repair service for customers who have a disability and may be at risk in the unlikely event of a fault occurring on their line.

We’ll prioritise your repair over standard care levels but there may be circumstances beyond our control that mean we can’t. For example, extreme weather conditions like floods or storms can delay or prevent our engineers carrying out repairs to overhead cables or working down manholes.

To find out if you’re eligible for a Free Priority Fault Repair, and to register for the service please contact us on 01482 602555. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.

- Third Party Bill Management

For some people, their vulnerability means that they can best access services through a third party. Customers who need help to manage their account can nominate a friend or relative to receive copies of bills and correspondence without them becoming liable for the bill. The Authorised User is able to raise a complaint or make a payment on behalf of the customer. Please call us on 01482 602555 to arrange this on your account. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.

- Communicate with us the best way that suits your needs

People with communications difficulties can contact to us via Live Chat, Email, Post or a British Sign Language interpreter. Further information is available on our contact us page.