People who are Deaf can spend up to 80% more on daily living costs than those who are able to hear, according to a January 2015 study report from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, and University Campus Suffolk in the United Kingdom. According to the report, the researchers used a method aimed at calculating the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) or basic living costs of people with disabilities, such as sight loss and hearing loss. One goal of the research was to demonstrate how this method can help both to quantify the extra costs of disability and to describe where and why they arise. 

For the Deaf study, researchers reportedly estimated the additional expenses for needs inside and outside the home incurred by someone who is profoundly Deaf and uses British Sign Language. They found that the budget for a working-age person living alone who is Deaf is over 80% more than for a hearing person. The biggest additional expense—more than 75% of the additional budget—comes from paying for interpretation services, the researchers reported.

Other additional expenses reportedly come from the need for technological communication aids, such as special mobile phones and computer equipment. Further expenses listed for Deaf people are travel costs related to visiting friends or attending social activities that may be farther away, but best accommodate their communication and social needs.

According to the Loughborough University website, this is the latest report in the Minimum Income Standard program. The report looks at the changes in the adequacy of incomes, as measured by households’ ability to reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), between 2008 and 2013. It is the third in an annual series of reports tracking how many people live in households with insufficient income to afford a minimum socially acceptable standard of living according to MIS. 

A signed version of the Deaf study findings, presented in British Sign Language can be found by following this news link.


Hill, K., Davis, A., Hirsch, D., Padley, M. and Smith, N. (2015) Disability and minimum living standards: The additional costs of living for people who are sight impaired and people who are Deaf. Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy.

Padley, M., Valadez, L. and Hirsch, D. (2015) Households below a minimum income standard: 2008/09 to 2012/13. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 

Source: Centre for Research in Social Policy, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK

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