Findings from opinion poll research we commissioned show that the general public isn’t concerned with the stigma attached to deafness and hearing loss, or about the rights of people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
But what improvements do people who are deaf or hearing loss want to see in these areas? To find out, and to help shape our new five-year strategy, we asked them, through online surveys and a series of focus group sessions.
They told us that to improve accessibility of services, changing public attitudes towards deafness and hearing loss was the top priority. When asked to say how and when they felt limited or labelled, they said that television and radio, leisure activities and GP and other NHS services should be priority areas for our future campaigning and influencing work.
We also interviewed representatives from eight major UK charities to gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t work when planning large-scale campaigns to change public attitudes and improve access.
The interviewees emphasised the importance of clear campaign aims and simple messaging that’s easy for the public to understand. Other charities’ experiences made clear to us that major changes to public attitudes take time. It’s important, too, to be realistic about what we can and can’t achieve.
Whatever our path, the findings and insights from this research will be invaluable in helping us shape our future work in the years to come.