Disabilities and sensory loss

Deaf & hard of hearing

BSL Support

This page will tell you about help available if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

What is meant by being deaf & hard of hearing?

If you are hard of hearing, in the simplest of terms this means you cannot hear well. Some people are severely deaf and rely on lip-reading to communicate with others. People who are profoundly deaf can hear nothing at all and communicate by lip-reading or sign language.

How it can affect you

Common struggles for people can be:

  • Communicating with other people, particularly with noisy backgrounds, or struggling to follow a telephone conversation
  • Not always alert to the doorbell or telephone ringing
  • Accessing information to make decisions that are right for you (for example at medical appointments, work meetings or with some written communication).

If you start to have these difficulties this can have significant consequences, such as a loss of independence or opportunities, social isolation, low self-worth, boredom, stress or depression.

Who can help?

If you start to have problems with your hearing, first you should visit your doctor.

Your doctor will look in both ears and may find that it is a problem that can be corrected at the surgery or may choose to refer you to the Audiology Department at the hospital where:

  • You will get a hearing test
  • You will receive a copy of your audiogram
  • They might suggest that you try using one or two hearing aids.

You may choose to go to a private company for a hearing test and to buy hearing aids yourself. If you do this, make sure you choose a company that you trust and one that will continue to offer you support after you have bought your hearing aids.

If your situation cannot be fully resolved by medical intervention or hearing aids, other help may be available.

What help can you get?

Enabled Living works on behalf of Newham Council, and will work with you to provide support with managing your daily living activities. Enabled Living also keeps a record of people who live in the borough with some level of hearing loss and who wish to be registered.

There are three levels of registration, either as:

  • Deaf
  • Deaf with speech
  • Hard of Hearing.

When you provide a copy of your audiogram we will ask you if you would like to be registered and offer you an assessment of your needs.

If you are registered as deaf, you may be able to claim certain benefits. For example, if you are registered with profound hearing loss you may be entitled to a:

  • Freedom Pass
  • Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or
  • Attendance Allowance (if over 65).

Whether you are deaf or hard of hearing, we understand how the impact of hearing loss can affect your life. We can provide support and equipment that can help lessen the impact on your everyday life.

Following your assessment, we may provide items such as:

  • Telephones
  • Loop systems
  • Alternatives to fire alarms

We may request support for you from other local, national or specialist organisations. You can self-refer by contacting the Access to Adult Social Care team.