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16 May 2018

Deaf Awareness Week 2018

We’re supporting this year’s Deaf Awareness Week, taking place from 14th – 20th May 2018.

Generally, the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness for those affected by hearing loss, but it also serves as an important reminder to look out for potential signs and symptoms of hearing loss, prompting people to find out what help and support is currently available.
Angela Holmes, Quality Supervisor for Fisher Lane, one of our projects which supports people who are deaf or have experienced hearing loss, tells us more about the importance of how you communicate:

“Never say ‘it’s doesn’t matter’ to a deaf person. You’ll exclude someone from the conversation unnecessarily and cause frustration. How would you feel if you were in a room full of deaf people and couldn’t understand sign language, this is how we live our life everyday. Barriers are everywhere and sometimes you don’t realise how hard it is, but taking the time to learn how to communicate in a better way really makes a difference.”

Additionally, Angela gave us some top tips on how to communicate with people who are deaf or may be affected by some level of hearing loss:

  • Make sure you have a person’s attention and that they looking at you. You could even give them a small wave or touch their shoulder or arm, if appropriate.
  • Face the person while you are speaking to them, don't turn away.
  • Make sure your face or mouth isn’t hidden behind a hand, pen or cigarette etc.
  • Make sure that background noise is at a minimum.
  • Make sure there is sufficient light on your face, as light from behind will shadow your face and make lip-reading difficult.
  • Using facial expressions or body language and gestures can help.
  • Speak clearly without shouting.
  • Repeat yourself if necessary.
  • Never say “It doesn’t matter”.
  • If the person doesn’t understand you, don't give up! Write it down or draw a picture.
  • Ensure that only one person is speaking as multiple conversations can be confusing.
  • Don't speak too quickly or too slowly.
Visit the UK Deaf Council website for more information on this year’s campaign or get involved in the conversation on social media by following the @UKDeafCouncil or by using the #DeafAwarenessWeek and #DAW18 hashtags.