E.A.R.S: The Facts
Deafax’s E.A.R.S: Education & Advice on Relationship and Sex campaign calls on schools, teachers and medical service providers to supply adequate sex education and sexual health care for deaf people.
We have conducted new research in this area, and our questionnaire findings completed by mild to profoundly deaf people, uncovered shocking results.
The results showed that:
Without the provision of appropriate and accurate sex education, information can be misled, misinterpreted and can lead to high risk situations.
- 35% did not receive sex education at school; 77% said it was because their school did not teach sex education and 22% said it was not a compulsory subject.
- 65% received inaccessible sex education; the reason being was 43% said that information provided in schools was limited
- 43% said they could not understand teachers
- 21% said they were unable to access sex education because of language barriers
- 21% said no visual resources was the reason of not understanding information
- 14% said they could not access information because of unsuitable communication support
- 7% said information was misunderstood and not clear because the jargon involved was complicated and not explained properly
- Deaf people learnt about sex through other means; 46% through the media
- 41% through the Deaf Community, 41% through friends and 23% from their family, 23% from their partner
- 36% of deaf people learnt about sex through direct sex experience.
Since our previous research (Deafness & Pregnancy Guide, 2009) our findings have shown that there has been no improvement in sex education and healthcare services in terms of accessibility and meeting the cultural and linguistic needs of deaf people.
This proves that deafness and sexual health is still an over looked area and these results can have a detrimental impact on the lives of deaf people; their health and ability to access vital information. This in turn, will not empower deaf people the opportunity of making positive and informed choices in their own sexual health.
We hope this campaign has raised awareness amongst teachers, healthcare professionals, employers, organisations to support the above to self-analyse and shape their services as appropriate and to ensure that deaf people are included in all means of sexual health information.
We are continuing our research in this invaluable area and keeping our survey open so that deaf and hard of hearing individuals can tell us about their experiences and opinions of sex education and the use of accessing sexual health services. Your name and personal details will not be disclosed; all answers will be used as part of our research development in relation to our work. (such as publicity materials and training workshops)