Deafness charities suffering from lack of awareness and funding

Published: Wed Nov 05 2008

Research published today by the AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities) shows a worrying lack of awareness of the work of medical research charities. A survey of more than 2,000 British adults has revealed huge gaps in knowledge about medical research charities, even though these now top the list of charitable causes to which we give money.

Deafness and deafness-related conditions affect one in seven of the UK population, a staggering 9 million people, yet the charity Deafness Research UK estimates that less than £2 per person affected is spent on medical research into deafness each year – less than the cost of a pint of beer!

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, said: "The survey reveals a worrying lack of public awareness about the extent to which medical research and better health care in this country relies on the research charities. It is of particular concern to Deafness Research UK because, despite the fact that 9 million people suffer hearing loss or a related condition, the funding for deafness research is woefully inadequate.

"According to Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) figures, deafness is one of the least supported causes in the UK; we urgently need to alert people to the devastating impact of deafness, the potential that exists to find medical cures and the fact that this relies enormously on public support."

Over half the respondents to the AMRC’s survey had donated to a medical research charity at some point, almost half said they would be more likely to give if they knew a charity funded medical research and nearly two thirds said they are interested in medical research. However, fewer than half could remember the last medical research story they had read or heard about and, when asked to name three medical research charities, the second most frequent mention (17% of those polled) was Cancer Research Campaign, a charity that has not existed under that name for over six years.

The poll also gave a picture of those most (and least) likely to donate. Londoners were significantly the least likely to support medical research whilst the top supporters were likely to be female; aged 15-34yrs; married; living in Scotland.

Vivienne Michael added: "It seems from the research that northerners are more generous when donating to medical research charities, with Scottish women being the most generous of all. We still have a lot of work to do to get our message across, not only in London and the home counties where lack of support is most apparent, but across the entire country."

For further information on deafness and deafness-related conditions, call freephone 0808 808 2222 or visit Deafness Research UK’s website at
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