What is the difference between deaf and Deaf?
You will see references to deaf and to Deaf all throughout our website and materials. It is not a typing error, so what is the difference?
The word deaf is used to describe anyone who does not hear very much. Sometimes it is used to refer to people who are severely hard of hearing too.
In some settings you might see the term ‘hearing-impaired’ but many people find being labelled ‘impaired’ offensive and inaccurate, so we don’t use that term.
We use Deaf with a capital D to refer to people who have been deaf all their lives, or since before they started to learn to talk. They are pre-lingually deaf. It is an important distinction, because Deaf people tend to communicate in sign language as their first language. For most Deaf people English is a second language, and understanding complicated messages in English can be a problem.
There is a very strong and close Deaf community with its own culture and sense of identity, based on a shared language.
Our work is mainly with and for Deaf people, and that’s why we are called SignHealth.
How healthy are Deaf people?
Sick Of It is SignHealth’s ground-breaking report uncovering the health disparity Deaf people face in the UK. Published in 2014, the report has influenced policy and changed practices in the NHS to improve communication and reduce barriers.Report: Sick Of It
The majority of our 150 staff are Deaf people and our award winning board has been recognised for its diversity and inclusivity. Together we are working to improve health and wellbeing for everyone.
Deaf people continue to face barriers in mainstream health and social care services. Since 1986 we have been providing services to the Deaf community and campaigning for more Deaf awareness and better access.