Deaf Community and Consultation

From 2007 to 2010 Health Deafinitions carried out an extensive piloting of our Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease videos with a comprehensive tour around England. The following video and written interviews are from the local Deaf people telling their own views and experiences.


Midlands & East of England



Community Consultations

When the Deaf community is consulted, either directly by an NHS body or by external groups, they see little progress resulting from explaining concerns or negative experiences. This results in many Deaf people being dismissive of, or even frustrated by patient consultation and involvement, due to the lack of confidence in organizations doing anything about the concerns that are shared and the inequalities experienced. Regardless of the number of times they have gone on record with someone willing to listen, they feel that nothing concrete comes of the exercise.

We continue to offer a service of community consultation that helps bridge gaps in Deaf access to health services, involvement in shaping services and providing feedback to health professionals. We are happy to organize and host meetings with members of the Deaf community in order to facilitate Deaf participation in their NHS services, or to attend external appointments with a variety of organizations.

○      Our community based approach offers a safe and confidence building environment for open and frank conversation form Deaf respondents. In our experience this is crucial, as space is provided for breakthrough opportunities with the Deaf community. During the many consultations we have facilitated and led most thought that the only improvement they could expect from their health and social care services would be more qualified interpreters. Once exposed to an educational and empowering approach, it was apparent that was the preferred and demanded option. [consultation ad/skit]

  • Currently we are also planning to offer peer support groups in the areas of employment and mental health to Deaf people in the South Yorkshire
  • Ten facts about the Deaf community

1. Deaf (with a capital d) people distinguish themselves from deaf (without a capital d) or hard of hearing people in that they claim distinct language and culture

2. Deaf culture has its own language, performance arts, social customs, body language [?], politics and heritage

3. According to the British Deaf Association up to 250,000 people use BSL in the UK each day, with a Deaf, BSL using population in the UK of around 156,000

4. The community is constituted of university educated and grassroots. The educated minority of Deaf people interact more with the ‘hearing’ world, whereas the grassroots majority typify the average English literacy rate of a nine-year-old and are immersed in the BSL world of Deaf culture and communication

5. BSL was recognized as an official language in the UK on March 2003. It is indigenous and the fourth most used in the UK

6. As with other language geography and inter-cultural exchange creates nuances and dialects in the different regions of the UK

7. Only 5-10% of Deaf children have Deaf parents, most deaf children are born into hearing homes, which often means they are outside of Deaf community support

8. Sign language in the Western world emerged and entered into popular and accepted use during the 1800s, but was socially and politically suppressed until recently with the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement and the increased achievement of basic human rights

9. Oralism is historically a scientific approach which encourages or sometimes forces use of oral voice of Deaf children as a ‘remedy’ to Deafness, this was the leading school of thought behind the suppression of Deaf languages during the late 1800s

10. Deaf people suffer more and experience greater deprivations than most other minorities in terms of health and well-being. This is a result of exclusion from a ‘hearing’ ruled society in terms of education, employment