Information for Deaf people and those who are hard of hearing.
A note on terminology:
You may see the term 'deaf' spelt with or without a capital 'D'. Capitalisation is used to distinguish between medical and cultural models of people with hearing loss. The British Deaf Association define the differences thus:
'Deaf' (with capital D) - someone with a strong cultural affinity with other Deaf people, whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL).
There are different types of deafness. Some people are born deaf and may have BSL as their first language. Some people have acquired hearing loss as a result of illness, a hereditary condition or ageing.
Social Services has a Sensory Services Team which includes specialist workers who support people with a hearing loss. They can provide a range of information and practical support. You may be referred to Social Services by an audiologist, or you can refer yourself or someone you are concerned about by contacting our Sensory Services Team.
A 'video relay' service is available at the Contact Centre at the Civic Centre to assist Deaf visitors who use BSL (British Sign Language). This service, set up in one of the interview rooms, provides a live video link to a BSL interpreter. The interpreter will voice what the customer is saying so that staff can understand their query, and then sign the staff member's responses back to the customer, enabling them to have a proper conversation.
The Sensory Services Team offer advice and support about:
- Welfare benefits.
- Communication formats.
- Housing issues.
- Referral to Adult Education/Employment Services.
- Bus Pass.
- Rail and other travel concessions.
- Personal support in times of need.
- Information on sign language, lip reading classes (where available).
- Community alarms (lifelines) and big button telephones.
- Carer's assessment.
- Functional assessment.
- Information on BSL interpreters, lip speakers and Deaf/blind communicators.
Certain services are only available if you meet the eligibility criteria. A care manager would look at your circumstances and assess your care needs.
Rehabilitation services for people with hearing loss
The following types of service may be offered to people who meet the eligibility criteria:
- Issue of equipment to enhance independence. This would be fitted by our Technical Officer.
- Occupational therapy services.
- Direct payments, which can enable you to arrange your own support, perhaps through employing a personal assistant.
- Respite care.
- Day opportunities.
- Residential care home services.
- Domiciliary support.
We have a resource centre of equipment for people with sensory loss, offering an opportunity to trial equipment for suitability prior to purchase from providers.
Registering as Deaf or hard of hearing
The local authority holds a register of people with hearing loss.
Registration as D/deaf or hard of hearing is completely voluntary. If you choose not to register you will still be able to access the same services.
It makes it more straightforward for you to access certain services and benefits.
It also allows your name to be included on the register which assists your local authority in planning future services for yourself and other D/deaf people.