There are over 10 million people in the UK living with hearing loss. The low estimate for people who use British Sign Language (BSL) is 100,000. Deafness is a hidden disability and many hearing people make massive assumptions based upon lack of knowledge and experience.
- Hearing loss goes from Mild through to Profound.
- Many people who are born deaf use British Sign Language (BSL) – but not everyone.
- There are regional variations of BSL.
- Cochlear Implants only work for a small number of profoundly deaf people.
- People who are born deaf have significantly different life experiences to those people who acquire deafness at a later stage in their life – they are culturally deaf.
- BSL users are not comfortable with written English (Should be more direct direct)
- Lip Reading – the best lip readers can only understand about 60% of what is being said.
- Some BSL users can speak (they were encouraged at school to do this) – this does not mean they can hear!
- Speaking louder does not work.
- Loop Induction systems can help some people who use hearing aids.
- There are international sign languages – American, Irish, and French etc.
- Using an interpreter is for both people to communicate – not only the deaf person
What do the ‘labels’ mean?
can be used as a general term to include the whole range of deaf people. Mainly used to indicate people who have acquired hearing loss and use spoken and written language.
are those who see themselves as members of a cultural and linguistic group who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language. Many struggle with written English. Deaf people share a visual language, experiences and a sense of identity. See themselves as part of a linguistic minority and often do not recognise themselves as disabled – it is society and it’s limitations that create barriers.
this describes both deaf and Deaf groups. (Sometimes can be written as D/deaf).
people who became deaf as adults usually after acquiring spoken language, and their hearing loss is total or profound. They derive little or no benefit from a hearing aid and have to rely on visual aids such as lip reading, writing and speech to text for communication. They identify mainly with hearing people. Deafened people often feel lost between the hearing community/culture and the deaf community/culture.
Hard of Hearing people
can have a mild, moderate or severe hearing loss which may have developed gradually or suddenly. They have been partially deaf since birth, or became so later in life. A Hard of Hearing (HOH) person may have some useful hearing and will communicate through speech, with or without amplification and lip-reading.
The majority of HoH people have become deafened as they get older. Their ability to read is unaffected by their deafness except that in elderly people, many have a dual loss i.e. failing sight and hearing. They often benefit from the use of a hearing aid. Many hearing aid users in this group also benefit from induction loops etc.