This week is Deaf Awareness Week. In the UK alone, there are over 10 million people living with some form of hearing loss.
Five Deaf Awareness Facts
- Hearing loss and deafness is defined as a hidden disability.
- There are international sign languages including American Sign Language and French Sign Language.
- In the UK, there are regional variations of British Sign Language just like there are with spoken language.
- Lip-reading helps deaf people to understand what others are saying, but even the best lip-readers still miss up to 40% of what has been said.
- The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists highlighted that the rise in the use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic makes it harder for people with hearing loss to communicate.
How can you be more deaf aware?
• Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
• Stand or sit in a place with good lighting, so that you can be lip-read.
• Try to find a quiet place to communicate with little background noise as this can be distracting.
• Use your usual voice level. If a deaf person uses a hearing aid it can be very uncomfortable for them and can seem as though you are shouting.
Do you struggle to communicate with deaf children?
For more information, visit the National Deaf Children’s Society’s website.