Deafness is one of the most common disabilities, and is so much more than a loss of hearing; it affects each D/deaf person in many ways, from, language, cognition, barriers in their daily life, lack of access and most importantly; communication.
There are ways to communicate with D/deaf people and to make conversation accessible. We have some Top Deaf Awareness Tips to share with you!
Every D/deaf person is different!
With a variety of hearing loss levels, and different hearing technologies, multiple language methods, these are all part of who D/deaf people are. Deafness can affect anyone, regardless of their age.
Some wear hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHAs, or others don’t use hearing technologies at all. It’s not a one size fits all.
There are many different sign languages and spoken languages. Some even use a mixture! It’s so diverse.
Celebrating Deaf Awareness Week
Every year in May, we celebrate Deaf Awareness Week and it’s an opportunity to showcase Deafness, Deaf culture, #DeafTalent – It’s also a key time to raise deaf awareness, teach others about what it means to be deaf and to spread the word through this national campaign.
Read more about the importance of Deaf Awareness Week: www.britishdeafnews.co.uk/why-deaf-awareness-week-is-important/
Top Deaf Awareness Tips
A little deaf awareness goes a long way to making the world a more accessible, understanding place, so here are some great tips to get the best out of communication with D/deaf people.
Find out how they communicate
It’s always best to ask the D/deaf person what their preferred method of communication is, rather than assuming.
Why not learn sign language?
Most Deaf people’s first language is sign language, so it’s a great skill to have. It’s best to start with the fingerspelling alphabet and learning basic signs, and there are some accredited courses offered by Deaf organisations or approved Sign Language centres.
Check your surroundings
Have you got good lighting? Can they see your face, lips and hands clearly? Is there too much background noise? Can you make the situation more accessible?
You don’t have to change your behaviour, tone of voice, use over exaggerated gestures or lip patterns. Simply speak normally, clearly and think about how D/deaf people may interpret your actions. Don’t forget to smile!
Don’t give up!
Please repeat yourself if the D/deaf person asks. Perhaps say it in a different way or write/type it down. Use diagrams or gestures to point. Don’t give up, you’ll get there eventually!
Here are some more communication tips: www.britishdeafnews.co.uk/daw-communication-tips/
Enjoy, and if you have any tips, please do share with us!