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‘It does matter’: our CEO shares her reflections on our new campaign

Watch this blog in BSL

Hello, I’m Harriet Oppenheimer, Chief Executive of RNID. This Deaf Awareness Week, as we launch our new ‘It does matter’ campaign (backed up by the biggest piece of social research we have ever carried out), I wanted to share my thoughts on why it’s so important.  

As part of our commitment to change society to make it more inclusive, we surveyed 5,383 people who are deaf or have hearing loss and 2,768 members of the general public. We wanted to learn what assumptions, challenges and misconceptions people face on a day-to-day basis to help us understand what changes we need to see and make in the world. 

Lots of what deaf people and people with hearing loss told us made for very tough reading. Two thirds said they have experienced negative attitudes or behaviours in the last year. And over half report that people tell them ‘It doesn’t matter’ and change the topic when they’re struggling to understand what is being said.  

One person summed it up by saying “when you say it doesn’t matter, I feel like I don’t matter”.  

This quote, from someone who took part in our research, struck a big chord with me. Nobody should feel they don’t matter.  

The negative experiences our communities are facing day-in-day-out build up to have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people. People are feeling excluded, patronised, losing confidence. That has to change.   

Watch the ‘It does matter’ report in BSL

Read our report

Hear more from our communities about the negative attitudes they face in everyday life and how you can help.
Read the ‘It does matter’ report

Hope for change

But while there’s a lot to do, I hope you – like me – finish reading the report with a great sense of hope. Rather than any deeply held negativity towards people who are deaf or have hearing loss, what we have found from the public is simply a lack of awareness about hearing loss and deafness. As a result, the general public don’t have the confidence and knowledge to communicate effectively. Together, we can change this. 

That’s why, this Deaf Awareness Week we need everyone to join RNID in saying loudly: ‘It does matter.’ RNID is here to help. Simply encourage your friends and family to sign up on our website for: 

  • Free tips on how to communicate 
  • Simple British Sign Language phrases  
  • The small changes you can make to show It does matter’ at home, in the workplace and out and about.  

Thank you for your support

Finally, I want to say a personal thank you to everyone who shared their experiences with us. I was deeply touched by the many comments from people who mentioned that, before taking this survey, they hadn’t realised how much the way their family, colleagues, and people on the street treat them was impacting them. If that rings true for you, remember the team at RNID are here to provide you with information and support.  

There are over 12 million people who are deaf or have hearing loss. This is not a ‘niche’ issue. By starting this campaign, and helping people realise their behaviour really does matter, we hope to encourage everyone to take simple steps to make a big change for millions of people. I hope you’ll join us in doing that. 

‘It does matter’

We’re asking the general public to show ‘It does matter’ and invite everyone back into the conversation. Explore the campaign.
Explore the campaign

Read about our new creative approach to how we’ve presented BSL translations in this campaign.

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