British Sign Language

Deafness affects 10 million people in the UK, that’s one in six of the population.

That 10 million is separated into different types of deafness:

  • Profoundly Deaf/Pre-Lingually Deaf – Someone born deaf or who became deaf early in childhood prior to acquiring spoken language.
  • Partially Deaf – Someone who has some hearing but would have difficulty following speech without a hearing aid and in noisy situations.
  • Deafened – Someone who has become profoundly deaf through illness, accident or injury.
  • Hard of Hearing – Someone whose hearing has deteriorated with age.

Deafness, no matter what type, can be very isolating and people with a hearing loss often come up against barriers to communication every time they leave home, which can be extremely frustrating.

They deserve equal access to services and not to have to worry about difficult interactions wherever they go.

These are just some of the challenges people with a hearing loss face:

  • Difficulties trying to access everyday services such as going to the supermarket or seeing their GP
  • Feelings of isolation and frustration felt when unable to communicate with others
  • Lack of confidence when approaching other people and hoping they will be able to understand and the other person will be able to understand them

Of the 10 million people with hearing loss, British Sign Language Training (BSL) is the first or preferred language of over 70,000 Deaf people in the UK. It is a visual-gestural language, which uses handshapes, facial and bodily expressions, gestures and lip patterns to express meaning. It has a vocabulary, grammar and structure distinct from English, and, as with all languages, is constantly evolving.

BSL has many regional variations, much as English has accents and colloquialisms.

In March 2003, the UK Government recognised BSL as a language in its own right, meaning that it now has a similar status to that of other minority national languages, such as Welsh and Gaelic.

We offer training to both organisations and individuals in:

If you’re thinking about doing some training, there are lots of reasons to Choose NDS. For more information please email