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Deaf and hearing impaired

Deafness or hearing impairment is when your hearing is affected by a condition or injury.

Hearing impairment is most common in older people but can happen at any age for a variety of reasons and some people are born with it.

If you have a hearing impairment you may find that some day-to-day activities are more difficult or you may need extra support. It might be that you need help with getting out and about or help to manage at home. You may also find that technology can help to make some things easier.

Hard of hearing support service

Hearing Help UK is a local voluntary organisation which provides support for people with hearing loss who are registered with a Derbyshire GP. Watch the Derbyshire hard of hearing support service video to find out more.

They offer information and advice and give demonstrations of the different types of environmental hearing equipment available that you may benefit from using.

Hearing Help run drop in sessions at venues in:

  • Ashbourne
  • Bakewell
  • Barlborough
  • Buxton
  • Chesterfield
  • Clay Cross
  • Darley Dale
  • Glossop
  • Ilkeston
  • Ripley
  • Swadlincote


Hearing Help
156 Derby Road

email or tel: 01773 570976.

Social care support

If you feel you need more help due to your hearing impairment or because you are deaf, you may benefit from having a needs assessment for adult social care support. This means that a social worker or community care worker will contact you and arrange to visit you to discuss your needs and how they can best be met. If you're found to be eligible for a service from us, we'll work with you to create a support plan that helps you to achieve your goals and outcomes.

To request a social care assessment, or for any other information, email or tel: 01629 533190. If you are a BSL user you can use the Sign Live service to contact Call Derbyshire.

Derbyshire deaf team

Our deaf team is made up of specialist workers who can give advice and work alongside your social care worker, if required, to ensure that you have access to all the support you need.

The team provide information, support and advice drop-in sessions at locations around the county:

  • Chesterfield - Tuesdays from 10am to midday at Chesterfield Area Office, West Street, Chesterfield, S40 47Y
  • Clay Cross - Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm at Clay Cross Office, Market Street, Clay Cross, S45 9JE
  • Ilkeston - Mondays from 10am to midday at Ilkeston Library, Market Street, DE7 5RN
  • Ripley - Friday from 10am to midday at Hearing Help, Ripley, 156 Derby Road, DE5 8HU
  • Swadlincote - Wednesdays from 10am to midday at Swadlincote Library, Civic Way, Swadlincote, DE11 0AD

This service will not be provided on bank holidays.

The deaf team can also help if you have problems with sight as well as hearing, known as dual sensory loss.

You can contact the deaf team in the following ways:

  • text: 86555 start your text with BSL then press space and then start your message
  • minicom: 01246 861852
  • tel: 01629 537171
  • email:
  • write to: deaf team, Derbyshire County Council, High Street, Clay Cross, Chesterfield, S45 9JB
  • use the Sign Live service to contact Call Derbyshire and ask to be put through to the deaf team

You can also follow the Derbyshire deaf team on Facebook.

SignLive online video interpreters

To use SignLive on a smartphone or tablet you'll need a device with a front facing camera. You'll also need:

You'll need to create a SignLive account to use the app. You can do this online or through the SignLive app by clicking 'need a new account?' once it's downloaded.

Once you've finished creating your account SignLive will send you a confirmation email and you'll need to click on the 'confirm' link. If you don't receive the email check your junk mailbox.

Once confirmed, to contact us you will need to log into the app using your account and select 'Derbyshire County Council' from the directory.

Press on the telephone number to be connected to a BSL interpreter. Tell the interpreter you want to contact Derbyshire County Council and the interpreter will make the call.

SignLive on a PC or laptop

To use SignLive on a PC or laptop you'll need:

  • a PC or Mac that runs Windows and has a webcam
  • a modern browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Windows version 8 or 9 can be used but will need a plug in

To start using SignLive on your PC or laptop:

  1. go to SignLive BSL Live and search for 'Derbyshire County Council' and select 'connect'- this will start the call
  2. tell the SignLive interpreter you are calling Derbyshire County Council
  3. you will be connected to an accessible customer advisor

If using SignLive on a PC or laptop, you're advised to create a SignLive account.

Interpreting support

An interpreting service is available from Action Deafness who can be contacted by:

This service supports adult social care and public health type appointments (adult safeguarding, Care Act assessments, communication support for deaf parents, weight loss classes, smoking cessation, for example).

Watch the Action Deafness videofor more information about their interpreting services.

Deaf engagement survey 2021

In February and March 2021, we engaged with members of Derbyshire's deaf and hearing impaired community by undertaking a small scale engagement exercise. We would like to thank everyone who took part, and express our gratitude to all partners who helped with this engagement exercise. The findings will be used to help inform the new service which we will re-procure in the summer of 2021.

The following is a summary of the results of the engagement and a full report is attached to this page.

Communication preferences

  • online videos calls or face-to-face meetings with an interpreter were the preferred methods of communication
  • more accessible options for deaf people to choose
  • people need to speak clearly and use plainer English
  • text or emails are preferred as phone calls can be stressful
  • video chat with BSL interpreter or auto captions
  • 77% of people who took part in the engagement were BSL users

Quality of communication support

  • interpretation support helps to receive clear information - the interpreter assists to ask for clearer details if there is an uncertainty - it makes sure what is happening at the appointment or at the meeting is understood
  • interpreters always help to clarify the situation however complex and help leave the deaf person in a better frame of mind
  • 75% of people were able to get an appointment in under 7 days
  • BSL interpreters 24 hours, video relay service interpreting
  • more BSL videos about situations and news
  • 92% of people didn't find it difficult to get and appointment with an interpreter

Information and advice

  • training all Derbyshire staff and professionals about what's available
  • need more promotion of deaf communication support from ourselves
  • more BSL videos about the service
  • requests for BSL interpretation support when receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, didn't happen - having to lipread meant a lot of information was missed
  • most deaf people were confused with COVID-19 guidelines. Both the BCC and ITV have no live BSL interpreter when the Prime Minister announced new guidelines and updates - I would have liked to see the deaf communication support service translate this information to BSL

Useful aspects of the support offer

  • it enables me to lead my life, healthy without worries, stay financially stable and stay in my own home
  • good service in arranging for equipment provision
  • it is free for deaf BSL users in Derbyshire
  • offering a variety of communication access - as everyone has different needs - BSL, lip reader, text, Glide, video, communication support worker - help with English, deafblind manual
  • excellent services - good communication by email and text qualified BSL interpreters
  • it helps me to live in a hearing world safely and with less confusion after leaving deaf school

Less useful aspects of the support offer

  • not being available lack of team in that area
  • the services that we need the communication support need to be aware of how to use interpreters and how to book them for deaf people who use their service (health, community service, voluntary service, education service, training services.
  • support is required more urgently sometimes
  • deaf people have to wait for an interpreter booking, unaware that Communication Unlimited do verbatim note-taking for deafblind people who have English as their first language
  • Communication Unlimited being difficult always busy and think of money
  • not enough inclusion - mostly focus on BSL

Improving the support offer

  • have more out of hours support to allow us to access more functions, training sessions and meetings outside 9am to 5pm
  • more options for video calls
  • greater awareness of their services and how to use them
  • a worker or communication support worker reaching out to a wide range of deaf and deafblind people
  • Communication Unlimited need more staff and deaf community supporters to offer for any help to deaf people - I know they are very busy everyday
  • more information and vlogs for us to share on social media with BSL, voiceover and captions, and more posters in places