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D/deaf and Hearing Impaired

Definitions of Deafness

The RNID and the wider D/deaf community commonly use the following definitions to describe deafness:

Mild deafness

If you have mild deafness it can cause some difficulty following speech, mainly in noisy situations. The quietest sounds you can hear are 25 to 39 decibels.

Moderate deafness

People with moderate deafness may have difficulty following speech without a hearing aid, and find the quietest sounds they can hear are 40 to 69 decibels.

Severe deafness

People with severe deafness rely a lot on lipreading, even with a hearing aid, as the quietest sounds they can hear are 70 to 94 decibels. BSL may be their first or preferred language.

Profound deafness

The quietest sounds that profoundly deaf people can hear average 95 decibels or more. BSL may be their first or preferred language but some prefer to lipread.


According to the RNID...

  • There are 8,945,000 deaf and hard of hearing people over the age of 16
  • There are 8,257,000 people with mild to moderate deafness over the age of 16
  • There are 688,000 people with severe to profound deafness over the age of 16

Some of the difficulties individuals may face in University settings

Students can contact Disability & Learner Support at any time during their course if they feel they need support or information relating to deafness.

Students will also be supported in applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). DSA helps provide funding for BSL interpreters, note takers, language support tutors, equipment and other support. For more information about DSA please contact us at

Examples of Support Available (Click Here