Non-technical solutions

There are various non-technical ways to help you communicate if you have a partial or total hearing impairment. They include:

Sign language

There are various types of sign language but in the UK British Sign Language (BSL) is the most common. It’s a combination of hand shapes and movements, lip patterns, facial expressions and shoulder movements, and has its own grammar and structure.
The best way to learn is by taking a course taught by a qualified BSL tutor, and practising at home with the help of videos, websites and books.

  • Find a local BSL course through your local authority (council) – search online or look in your phone directory for contact details.
  • Visit

Lip reading

This is a great skill to have if you have any hearing impairment, even if you wear hearing aids, as there are bound to be words you miss, especially in noisy environments.

Lip reading is all about recognising the lip shapes, gestures and facial movements that people make when they are speaking. The best way to learn is to go to a class run by a qualified teacher.  Visit the website of the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA)

Find out more about communication from the charity Action on Hearing Loss.