An audience at a performance

A note on terminology

These documents use the generally accepted terminology as recommended and used by people within the communities being described.

Deaf people (capital ‘D’) are people whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL) and who identify as being culturally and politically Deaf. There is a wide range of ability in English within this group. Some have high levels of aptitude in English and could be termed bilingual. (Many of these make choices as to whether to access theatre via a BSL interpreted performance or via captioning.) Others have limited understanding of written English and will generally need to access information via an interpreter.

deaf people (lower case “d”) are people who may well use some Sign Language, and may also supplement their communication with lip-reading and some level of hearing, possibly through a hearing aid (and, in certain situations therefore, via an induction loop or other system).

D/deaf people is a term that is commonly used to encompass people with the whole range of experiences of hearing loss.

Deafened people have become deafened and usually have good levels of English since they have lost their hearing after acquiring spoken language. They may well use hearing aids.

Hard of hearing people have some level of hearing and may well use hearing aids. This is a phrase that may be used, for example, (though not exclusively) by older people.

Blind people is a term that can be appropriately used to refer to people with a wide range of experience of sight loss. It is important to realise that most blind people have some sight.

Partially sighted people are people who have some sight loss but who may rely on good lighting and on colour contrast, for example, to be able to negotiate spaces independently.

Blind and partially sighted people is a term that can be appropriately used to encompass people with the whole range of sight loss. It is generally preferred to the term ‘visually impaired people’.

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