Here And Now
Deaf Awareness Week 2021
3rd-9th May is Deaf Awareness week coordinated by UK Council on Deafness. It is a week used to raise awareness of hearing loss and deafness, and challenge perceptions across the UK.
1 in 5 adults in the UK has hearing loss or is d/Deaf, and they all face communication challenges that can lead to frustration, anxiety, and loneliness. The theme for this year is ‘Coming through it together’ encouraging people to work with and help those who are d/Deaf in their daily lives.
People who are deaf or have hearing loss will have individual communication needs, and there are several ways in which you can continue communicating with them. However, be mindful that not all methods are appropriate, and it is best to ask how you should communicate.
Throughout the pandemic, people who lip read and rely on facial expressions have found visual communication quite difficult with restrictions such as wearing a face mask or covering. Using these tips will open communication, especially now normal life is starting to resume.
- Ensure you are facing the person you are talking to and speak clearly. Try to avid talking too fast or slow, and shouting.
- If someone hasn’t understood what you have said, repeat yourself, or rephrase it.
- If you are in a noisy environment, move to somewhere quieter if possible.
- Try writing things down using pen and paper, or text on device screens.
- If they ask you to, communicate with a relative or friend.
- Never give up or say ‘It doesn’t matter’
There are useful tools available to help with communication such as live speech to text apps and video relay services such as InterpreterNow for communicating with those whose preferred language is BSL. You may also see someone with a sunflower lanyard, this shows there is a hidden disability and may need help with communication.
British Sign Language is used by many people in the UK and is often the first language for those who are born Deaf. People in the Deaf community use a capital ‘D’ to express their pride in their Deaf identity. BSL uses a combination of hand shapes, movements, lip patterns, facial expressions, and shoulder movements to communicate. It has its own grammar and is structured differently to English. BSL interpreters enable communication between hearing people and Deaf sign language users. Often you will see them on the TV and at events, such as plays and performances.
Communication is important to everyone, but even more so to those who have hearing loss. Over the last year physical communication has been reduced and hindered due to face coverings, and technology has been used more which can have its difficulties. It is important to remain mindful of these situations and adapt to ensure those with hearing loss are included in the conversation.
If you have any concerns about your hearing and hearing loss, contact one of our audiologists today to discuss a hearing assessment or hearing aid options.
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