This week (6–12 May) is Deaf Awareness Week, where awareness is raised around the challenges faced by D/deaf/HoH people in the UK, and increase understanding in the wider community.
There are approximately 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK: around one in six of the population.
The event this year focuses on celebrating role models and people in the community who are working to raise awareness and make changes for D/deaf/HoH people.
The British Deaf Association has a list of guidelines for a hearing person to effectively communicate with a D/deaf/HoH person.
- Speaking clearly, without using abbreviations when speaking to someone with lip-reading skills
- Using natural facial expressions and gestures
- Making good eye contact
- Not speaking slowly or in an exaggerated manner
- And best of all, learning British Sign Language (BSL), which is the preferred language of 87,000 people in the UK, who may use English as their second or third language.
D/deaf/HoH people are more likely to experience mental health issues – 50 per cent, compared with 25 per cent of the hearing population – and are more likely to be unemployed.
This is, in part, due to the lack of inclusive and accessible communication in place, in workforces and general, everyday life, meaning D/deaf/HoH are often excluded from certain aspects of society.
Throughout the week, people have been using the hashtag #DAWrolemodels2019 to celebrate the fantastic work done by people in the D/deaf/HoH community and their allies to raise awareness and improve conditions around the country.