Facts and Figures 2019
There are approximately 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK. This is about 22% of the population or 1 in every 6 persons.
There are more than 150,000 sign language users in the UK.
It is estimated that by 2035, there will be more than 15 million people with hearing loss in the UK. That is one in every 5 persons.
More than 40% of deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK suffer from mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety. These issues are made worse due to difficulty in accessing support and services as a result of communication barriers.
Deaf people often have poor educational experience and may have limited English literacy skills. Most deaf people require assistance with official forms and letters.
The British Deaf Association’s 2014 report on access to council services for older Deaf people in England and Wales confirmed that in general, Deaf people are unsatisfied with the services provided by their local council and that they experience isolation and frustration when accessing council services. Deaf users requested “improvement in communication access and access to information” and expressed “anger at the persistent failure of public services to accept responsibility for providing these.”
Accessibility means that the information a user needs should be perceivable and understandable to them.
The lack of awareness about people with different ranges of abilities and limitations with regards to sight, hearing, physical ability, and literacy levels, is the main reason behind things being inaccessible and discriminatory. Increasing awareness is one of the most important tools in providing accessibility to all.
Why Accessibility is Important?
Currently, when a deaf person needs to use a public service, they may have to wait until a British Sign Language interpreter has been booked by the service provider to be able to access the service. Some basic enquiries could be dealt with quickly and efficiently if frontline staff have some understanding of BSL and deaf culture providing a equitable service to deaf people.
We can help improve your organisation’s ability to provide excellent customer service for all Deaf users whilst greatly reducing your accessibility costs. By completing one of our customised courses, your employees will gain an understanding of the basics of BSL and will be comfortable communicating with Deaf service users at any time, providing better access for deaf consumers, dealing with basic enquiries and issues, and bridging the gap until an interpreter can be sourced.
At AMB, we develop customised British Sign Language training courses for frontline staff and provide in-depth specialist support to ensure services are fully accessible to people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
British Sign Language is much more than just a language; it is a physical expression of Deaf identity.