Registered Charity no. 218341  |   Telephone: 01872 225 868


Registered Charity no. 218341  |  01872 225 868  |


Deafness, the hidden disability

Communication Support

If you are d/Deaf you can use SignVideo to contact us for Information and Advice. 

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British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters

Working in association with businesses, educational centres and various statutory and health bodies, including Cornwall's Integrated Care Board (which previously constituted,  NHS Kernow, NHS England, Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust), we deliver the highest standard of British Sign Language interpreting and translation services.

Our specialist trained British Sign Language Interpreters are available to ensure that Deaf people, who use Sign Language as their chosen way of communication, have access to all medical services, including GP and dental appointments, as well as other type of appointments, meetings and interviews.

We co-ordinate bookings across the Duchy and beyond.

Clinicians, please note, that a deaf person with hearing loss may require or benefit from an advocate to take notes to support their reception of information and may require longer appointments

Feel free to contact us for help with communication support and we will explain more about how we can help you.

Please note that someone trained in British Sign Language may not be qualified to interpret!

Enquire Now


NHS BSL Booking information

We have standard rates for many of our fees, however some services will need to be quoted for, especially where travel time will need to be included.
We follow all NHS guidelines of confidentiality and data protection.

Please also refer to our Privacy Policy

Email: , or  Phone: 01872 225868

Even in an EMERGENCY, we will try to help . To get EMERGENCY OUT-OF-HOURS support for a Deaf person/patient Phone: 01209 823103



Did you know?

While "Attend Anywhere" is the most popular application, Zoom is an online application that can be used to run video conferences. Deaf people seem to have a clear preference for Zoom.

Video quality is superior on Zoom for people who rely on visual communication, lip reading and facial expressions. Furthermore, using split screens (not available on all video conferencing platforms) enables equal access to deaf and hearing people and allows interpreters to be visible.

While Zoom has not been assured nationally by NHS Digital as a secure video conferencing tool, their guidance is that this does not mean it should not be used. However, it is important to note that it is an organisation’s own responsibility to perform risk assessments on any products that are used and ensure that appropriate security safeguards are in place.

Think accessibility: Accessibility features, such as live captions, are available for virtual meetings. ·    Microsoft Teams To make virtual meetings more accessible: ·    keep your camera on·    look into the camera ·    use good lighting ·    allow time for everyone to contribute ·    consider your background ·    speak clearly ·    mute yourself when you’re not speaking ·    don’t cover your mouth when you’re talking ·    raise your hand virtually if you want to contribute ·    don’t interrupt or speak over people



999 - Make sure you have registered this on your mobile:



111 - Important but maybe less urgent
If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 18001 111.
Calls are connected to the TextDirect system and the textphone will display messages to tell you what's happening. A typetalk relay assistant will automatically join the call.
They'll talk back what you've typed to the NHS 111 adviser and, in return, type back the adviser's conversation so you can read it on your textphone's display or computer. for medical support if NOT EMERGENCY

Download information poster for your medical dept. GP or dental surgery 

How to book NHS BSL interpreters/communication support

BSL VIDEO "ATTEND ANYWHERE" - It works the same way in Cornwall!

Are you following the Accessible Information Standard for NHS services

Interpreter Awareness Guide



The Equality Act 2010 
See Healthwatch Plymouth report referencing Hearing Loss Cornwall good practice, Annexe A

Live Captioner

Finding it difficult to concentrate due to your hearing loss?  You may benefit from our "Live Captioner" service, whereby your on-screen transcribing will be written in "live" time by a person, not AI. This service can be linked into remote "teams" and "zoom" meetings to ensure a correct understanding of the topic. Please enquire about pricing and availability.

We can also offer a "note-taking service" whereby the operator translates what is being voiced into text form, with the use of a computer. This is ideal for anyone who struggles to lipread for any length of time, or for those situations when it would be difficult to keep track of conversations. Please note we do not offer an accredited speech-to-text service, so this service is essentially there to support advocacy needs Please see the last page of this guide for further ideas.


Benefit from lipreading

Please let us know if you need the services of our specialist trained Lipspeaker in Cornwall or Devon and we will help you out! If you need signed support can you please advise in advance.

Lipspeakers are mainly used by deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people to aid clear communication with lipreaders. They can aid a deaf person to understand lipreading better, but,  can also aid a hearing person who is having difficulty in understanding a deaf person.

For more information about these sessions please email us on or Nicola Hickling,

Hear in silence!

Lipspeakers are hearing people who act as professional aids to communication between deaf and hearing people.
  • A Lipspeaker can repeat what a speaker says without using their voice. They have learnt the skill of conveying a spoken message by producing clearly the shapes, rhythm and flow of natural speech, as used by the speaker. They will also use facial expressions and natural gestures to aid the clarity of the message.

British Sign Language courses

British Sign Language is a unique and valuable way of communicating which has its own alphabet and syntax.  

BSL Level 1 Course

BSL Starter Courses at Hearing Loss Cornwall

Getting started with sign language

We organise Basic BSL courses which are not accredited. These are ideal for anyone wanting to have an introduction to the signs and alphabet of this wonderful language and decide whether they would like to invest in further training, which would lead to accreditation. Please enquire about our current dates, however, you may wish to organise your own. If you have a group of 6 or more who would be interested, please contact us.

While these are non-accredited courses they are good start. Currently, we no longer organise our own accredited courses. Please enquire through Cornwall College.

Currently there are FREE course dates at Cornwall Deaf Centre:  Ask us and we will check details for you

See above for Lipreading courses

Download poster

Online BSL courses


Online British Sign Language Course - Learn BSL Today (

British Sign Language for beginners - Signature

British Sign Language Training and Qualification Courses Library - BSL Courses

An interesting project researching BSL  - The BSL Corpus Project

Contact Cornwall Deaf Community Centre to find out how you may be able to support them by learning BSL

Makaton Trainings

Makaton has been proven to improve the communication skills of people with hearing loss, learning disabilities, muscle disease or physical disability, dementia or Alzheimer’s, or those who have suffered a stroke. Highly flexible, Makaton can be personalised to meet individual needs and abilities, and can be used to signpost areas in a building or label rooms and items.  Makaton in Cornwall

Syntax Facts

  • British Sign Language is a rich combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. A British Sign Language Interpreter is someone who interprets from Sign Language into spoken English or spoken English into Sign Language. It should be remembered that BSL is a completely different language from English, with a different vocabulary and a different grammar, known as syntax. Sign language varies from region to region, and country to country, however, our Sign Language translators can still help you. BSL users may also manage to understand some conversation by lipreading.

Lipreading Classes

Brush up your Lipreading skills

Taking classes in lip reading can be good for you to practise your skills and a great way to socialise. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in attending lipreading lessons

Cochlear Implants

A growing number of people have CI's

If this is a subject that you would like to chat about and get support:
Contact: Nicola Hickling 
IG: thecornishnana IG: thecochlearcommunity IG: patternweights
Facebook: yummymummyof4
LinkedIn: Nicola Hickling 

Syntax Facts

Half the Story
  • They may not realise it, but sighted people lipread all the time. For Deaf or deafened people this method of communication becomes more important. While there are many deaf people who can only understand the conversation by lipreading, it has its challenges. Often, as little as 50% is understood and it is very tiring to lipread. Even experts find this as many words appear the same. The aim of lipreading is to get the eyes to help the ears to get the best from what they hear, but it takes time and mistakes still happen!

“If your reflex is everyone feels lonely sometimes, you would be right. But you would also be understating the loneliness we feel.”

Become a member

Find out about joining us today and supporting people with hearing loss

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