1 in 6 people have a hearing loss in the UK. That’s 9 million people in the country!
Hearing loss can come in so many levels and each person is different. Some people with a hearing loss may communicate using British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE), some may lipread and some may wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. Hearing loss can also be invisible as not everyone will choose or need to wear an aid.
Sometimes being deaf can feel isolating, especially if you’re not sure what is going on around you. Being deaf aware and raising deaf awareness enables the hearing community to be more inclusive of the deaf community.
We’ve put together a few key tips for communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person:
- When you need to get the person’s attention, it’s ok to wave in their direction, tap the table in front of them, or tap them on the arm or shoulder.
- If you want to let them know you have entered the room, try turning the light on and off.
- Ensure you are in a well lit area, but don’t stand in front of a window or something that is too bright behind you. If it’s too bright, the other person may not be able to see you very well as your front may be in shadow.
- Ensure that you are in a quiet place, if you can.
- Some people may lip read, so try not to cover your mouth too much, and make sure you are facing them when you are talking.
- Speak clearly and slowly, but don’t over pronounce your words as this can make lipreading more difficult!
- Don’t shout!
- Be patient! If the other person can’t hear what you are saying, try saying it in a different way, or writing it down. It can be hurtful if you get impatient.
Some people may use BSL or SSE, so it can be useful to know a few basic signs. If you are interested in learning BSL, please contact us, and we can point you in the right direction.