Deaf and hard of hearing populations

Challenge Sponsor

tayside-deaf-hubDundee Deaf Sports and Social Club (DDSSC), Tayside Deaf Forum (TDF) and Deaf Links have created Tayside Deaf Hub. The vision of deaf people in Tayside is to develop services, activities and learning that truly reflect the needs of deaf people in the area, empowering them to become equal and active members of the communities they live in.

TDF provides independent advocacy, advice, information, a wide range of activities, learning opportunities and support to local deaf people.  It also offers  deaf and deafblind awareness and British Sign Language training to agencies, organisations and individuals in the Community and beyond, from nationally accredited courses to sessions tailored to individual needs.  They also run a community café, No 23 is open to the public, Monday to Saturday, 9am to 3pm offering delicious breakfasts, snacks, light meals and home baking.

Challenge Scenario

Elizabeth is 32 years old and has been deaf since birth. She communicates using British Sign Language. Recently, her asthma has worsened so she has been trying to make an appointment to see a doctor. This is proving difficult because she cannot use a phone and, since English is her second language, she is does not understand written language very well. In fact, the last time she went to see her doctor a sign language interpreter was not available so the doctor wrote everything down on a piece of paper. She was too embarrassed to make him aware of the fact she could not understand what he had written.

John is 87 years old and his hearing has been deteriorating for a number of years. His wife is elderly and has recently been transferred into a care home. After attending several appointments with his doctor and nurse who repeatedly told him his hearing loss was a “normal part of ageing”, he was eventually sent to an audiology department. He had been waiting for over an hour to be called for his appointment when he discovered they had already called his name and he hadn’t heard it. He tried to book another appointment over the phone but couldn’t make out the instructions listed using the automated booking system. He now does not have the confidence to attempt to arrange another appointment.

The Challenge

How might we remove some of these barriers to healthcare that have been experienced by Elizabeth and John?

Useful links

Report – Sick of it – How the Health Service is Failing Deaf people

Action on Hearing Loss