Hearing Link

Facts about deafness & hearing loss

There are approximately 10 million people in this country with a hearing loss.

We do not notice them because deafness has the disadvantage of being an invisible disability. This makes it easier for deaf and hard of hearing people to be ignored or forgotten. But 10 million people make deafness the second largest disability in the UK.

A few facts and figures

  • 10 million people (approx.) in the UK are affected by hearing loss (1 in 6).
  • 6.5 million of these are aged 60 and over.
  • 3.7 million are of working age.
  • Around 2 million people use hearing aids.
  • About 800,000 are severely or profoundly deaf.
  • Many people with hearing loss also have tinnitus. They may also have balance difficulties.
  • Hearing loss increases sharply with age – about a third of people aged 70+ have a hearing loss.

Words describing deafness and hearing loss

There are no hard rights and wrongs about the words you use to describe a person’s hearing loss. However, generally accepted definitions are as follows:

  • Deafened – people who were born with hearing and later lost much/all of their hearing.
  • Hard of hearing – people who have lost some but not all hearing.
  • deaf (lower case ‘d’) – people who have hearing loss; they may be born deaf or become deaf. They mix well in the hearing world and may communicate orally and be users of sign language.
  • Deaf (upper case ‘D’) refers to people who are full members of the deaf community and who communicate almost exclusively with sign language.
  • Hearing loss, hearing impaired – anyone with any level of hearing loss.
  • Acquired hearing loss – people who were born with hearing and later lost some/all hearing.
  • Acquired profound hearing loss – people who were born with hearing and later lost a significant amount or all of their hearing.

It might help to know that in a survey carried out by Hearing Link into the phrases that people use to describe their hearing loss, the following results came back from 269 people:

We asked: which words and phrases do you prefer to use?

The most common responses were:

  • ‘I’m hard of hearing’
  • ‘I have a hearing loss’
  • ‘My hearing’s not so good’
  • ‘I’m moderately deaf’
  • ‘I am totally deaf’

We asked: which words and phrases do you dislike using?

The most common responses were:

  • ‘I have hearing difficulties’
  • ‘I am hard of hearing’
  • ‘I have a hearing impairment’
  • ‘I have a hearing loss’
  • ‘I am deafened’

Read and download an Executive Summary of the report below

To enlarge and read the document below, please click on ‘open’ (on the bottom right hand side), then use the arrows to page through it.

Webpage published:

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This