Being more aware of deaf people’s needs

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With next week being Deaf Awareness Week people are being urged by charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to become more aware.

The charity is urging people not to exclude deaf people during conversations at work or social occasions.

Young Deaf or hard of hearing people who the charity supports into employment or training opportunities often highlight that they miss out on crucial information, the latest news or jokes because their hearing colleagues don’t know how best to communicate with them.

The charity is promoting the following top communication tips: Learn fingerspelling or some basic British Sign Language (BSL); make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking; Face the person so you can be lipread and speak clearly, using plain language, normal lip movements and facial expressions; Check whether the person understands what you are saying and, if not, try saying it in a different way; Keep your voice down as it’s uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout – and it looks aggressive; Chat in places with good lighting (so that you can be lipread) and where there is no background noise.

Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Delia Henry, says: “Deaf Awareness Week is a great opportunity for people to learn how to improve their communication with people who are Deaf or have hearing loss. The key thing to remember is that each person could have their own preferred method of communication so, by simply asking what the best way is, you can make a huge impact on ensuring deaf friends, family or colleagues can follow and contribute to conversations.”