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.