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Our social research and evidence

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Our social research guides all our work and campaigns. It helps us influence government, business and employers, and raise awareness of the issues faced by deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus.

We ensure our social research is informed by working with our Research Panel, a group with lived experience.

Join our Research Panel

Are you deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus? We’re looking for people with lived experience to help our work, from campaigning and inclusion to employment and health.
Join the Research Panel

Our social research so far

We regularly carry out research to understand more about the life experience of deaf people and those who have hearing loss or tinnitus. This helps us develop our policy positions in health and social care, employment and broadcasting and telecommunications. 

We also respond to consultations and government inquiries to make sure legislation, regulations and national guidance take people’s needs into account.

Read our social research reports, policy positions and consultation responses.

Key social research projects

‘It does matter’: our new public attitudes report

Our major new research report, ‘It does matter’ (May 2024), captures the impact that negative attitudes and a lack of understanding are having on deaf people and people with hearing loss.

The research was conducted in early 2024 and the report was published during Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May 2024). Combining evidence from the biggest survey we’ve ever ran with our communities, and a poll of the general public, the research reveals a large divide between what the public think deaf people experience, and the reality.

The report also shows what ways in which deaf people and people with hearing loss would like the public to communicate with them. These findings have gone towards creating our ‘It does matter’ campaign, inviting the public to change their day-to-day behaviour, and make a more inclusive society for all.

Read the ‘It does matter’ report (PDF, 2 MB)

Watch the ‘It does matter’ report in BSL

In Their Own Words: our new audiology report

Our new report on the state of UK audiology services in the UK was written in 2024 from research we conducted in the summer of 2023. It shares the latest insights into people’s experience of adult hearing services and their ideas for improving them.

Three areas of improvement were identified, including the need for:

  • New service models, such as remote online support options and flexible drop-in clinics.
  • Better service accessibility, such as accessible communication in waiting rooms, improving access to ear wax removal, and local community support.
  • Encouraging new technology and patient empowerment, such as being able to test new hearing devices in different environments, for hearing devices to automatically tune themselves to the user’s needs, and users having greater control over hearing device settings.

Some continued challenges around audiology include people not having their communication needs met, finding information gaps about assistive technology and hearing devices, and receiving limited support when adapting to hearing devices.

Read the In Their Own Words report (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Blocked Ears, Blocked Access: The Crisis of NHS Ear Wax Removal in England

To create our 2024 Blocked Ears, Blocked Access report, we submitted Freedom of Information requests to the 42 Integrated Care Boards (ICB) in England, asking if they commission ear wax removal services in line with public health guidelines. 

Our results show that less than half of ICBs are meeting recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Many don’t make ear wax removal services available to everybody, and some don’t commission the service at all, leaving thousands of people without access.

Our ongoing Ear Wax Removal campaign calls on the Government for an urgent review of NHS wax removal services. Find out how you can support the campaign.

Read the Blocked Ears, Blocked Access: The Crisis of NHS Ear Wax Removal in England report (PDF, 705 KB)

Subtitle It! 2023

Our 2023 report highlights the importance of subtitles – 9 out of 10 people who filled out our survey who are deaf or have hearing loss usually or always use subtitled when watching TV. But more than 4 out of 5 deaf people are excluded from watching their favourite TV shoes because of missing subtitles. The Media Bill was introduced into the House of Commons, as part of the King’s Speech on 7 November. This signals the Government’s commitment to regulate minimum levels of subtitles and signing for on-demand TV services. 

The Bill still has to pass a significant number of stages in both the House of Commons and House of Lords before it can be given ‘Royal Assent’, which is when it would become law. 

Read the Subtitle It! 2023 report (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Working for Change

Support and advice needed for people with hearing loss or deafness in work. Our 2020 report pulls together available evidence to better understand what workplace support deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus would find most beneficial, so they can feel empowered and be open about their hearing loss and get the support they need. 

Read more about our Working for Change campaign.

Join the Research Panel

We want you to get involved in our research and tell us what matters to you. Your views and experiences will help us shape the direction of our work.

Page last updated: 14 May 2024

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