• Elisa Nuevo Vallín

How to improve your Deaf Awareness in less than 5 minutes

One important aspect of Deaf Awareness is supporting equality, and this has a profound and positive impact on everyone in the community.

We want to deliver an "Express Deaf Awareness Session" so that we can help to create a more diverse, inclusive and open society. It cannot hope to replace a full Deaf Awareness Training Course, but it is be a good start and we hope it will leave you wanting to learn more!


So, if you are in the public transport, or you are waiting for someone, or you have a few spare minutes, then start reading now!



FACTS AND FIGURES


  • There are approx. 12 million people in the UK with a hearing loss

  • Roughly 1 in 6 of the UK population currently has some form of hearing loss

  • There will be an estimated 14.2 million people in the UK with a hearing loss by 2035

  • There are 50,000 children with hearing loss in the UK

  • At least 4 million people in the UK would benefit from using hearing aids, but they do not currently use them

  • On average, it takes 10 years for people to address their hearing loss

  • There are at least 24,000 people across the UK who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their main language

  • BSL has its own structure and grammar and needs translation like any other language; there is no direct link between BSL and written English

  • Deafness is a hidden disability that can be forgotten, as it is not obvious; it affects one person in seven in this country

  • You can lose your hearing through loud noise (eg. a work related injury) disease (meningitis) genetic/birth defect, accidents and operations



TIPS FOR A GOOD COMMUNICATION


Most d/Deaf or Deafened people will lip read you when they come into contact with you, so why not remember some of these helpful tips:

  • Tap or touch the person on the shoulder to gain their attention. This is a culturally acceptable way to gain attention – please be mindful of current social distancing guidelines

  • Speak normally, without exaggeration

  • Don’t put your hand over your mouth

  • Try not to talk while eating or chewing gum

  • Gain eye contact so you know the person realises you are speaking to them


You may think these are obvious points, but you will be surprised how many people just do not realise their usefulness.

"Tips for a good communication with a Deaf person" - Deaf Umbrella TV



CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING


You will find that by giving the topic for conversation or discussion first, the person you are communicating with is able to immediately know the context of the conversation and this allows them to gain some idea of what you wish to say.

For example: If I want to tell a friend some news it maybe said like this: "I have bought a new red car and it is so fast, I'm really pleased with it".

If I wanted to tell a deaf person who was reading my lips it would be better to say: "Red car, new mine, I'm really happy".


This gives the same information but faster and easier to quickly understand.



LIP-READING EXERCISE


Let’s have a look at lip-reading. Try to say a sentence to the person next to you about your journey to meet them today, without using your voice!

Do they know what you are talking about? Have you had to give them a clue? Did you use your hands to help you explain?




We hope that this "Express Deaf Awareness Session" helps to reduce unintentional discrimination, promote the positive aspects of deafness and social inclusion.


Please feel free to share this much needed information with those who might be interested.




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