Learning to live with deafness can be a devastating experience. Many people say they lost their sense of security, confidence and independence when they lost their hearing. Deafness is an invisible disability and can lead to isolation and loneliness as people withdraw, finding it increasingly hard to communicate.
There are around 50,000 people who have been profoundly deaf since birth and who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL) as a first language. A further 150,000 are deafened; having been born hearing they have become profoundly deaf later in life either suddenly or gradually. The remainder (and majority) of the 10 million are Hard of Hearing; a term used to describe a hearing loss that is less than profound (mild, moderate or severe).
These people rely on lip-reading and the use of hearing aids to help them with communication. There are around 1.4 million people who regularly use hearing aids. View our communication tips to see how you can make it easier for a deaf person to lip-read you.
Over 800,000 people have a severe or profound hearing loss and could potentially benefit from having a hearing dog. Find out how a hearing dog can transform a deaf person’s life by reading our recipients’ stories.
A hearing dog is a registered Assistance Dog and as such is allowed access to public places under the Equality Act 2010, which has replaced the Disability Discrimination Act.