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This week is Deaf Awareness Week 2023 (2nd-8th May), and the theme this year is deaf inclusion. To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, we want to help others understand a little bit more about how hearing loss can impact the daily life of those with hearing impairments as this may not be common knowledge.

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Deaf Awareness Week

What is Deaf Awareness Week?

Deaf Awareness Week is a campaign that hopes to increase the awareness of the deaf community. It aims to educate us so that, together, we can help create a helpful environment and support those who have hearing loss or hearing impairments so that they feel included and supported.

This week is Deaf Awareness Week 2023 (2nd-8th May), and the theme this year is deaf inclusion. To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, we want to help others understand a little bit more about how hearing loss can impact the daily life of those with hearing impairments as this may not be common knowledge. By understanding the struggles and challenges that D/deaf and hard of hearing people face, we can then learn how to support them.

It’s important that everyone works together to create a more inclusive society that makes every individual feel welcome, especially because being excluded can take a toll on those who are already dealing with their own unique challenges that not everyone is familiar with. This includes the challenges that come with dealing with hearing loss every day. Some of these challenges can include having to undergo hearing therapy, carrying out lipreading classes, and undertaking sign language classes. However, this can be made even more difficult to do when hearing loss can lead people to feel more withdrawn from social situations, which leads to feeling distressed, and or feeling lonely.

Did you know?

12 million adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss.

That’s a large number of people! That’s why It’s so important for us all to be more deaf aware, both at work and in daily life because it isn’t something that is often talked about, especially for those at work who may not want to speak openly about their hearing loss because they think it could affect the way they are perceived in the workplace by their fellow peers and employers.

How to support deaf peers

Below we talk about a couple of things we can do to help our deaf peers feel more at ease and make communication a little bit easier for them but also for those involved in the conversation.

Become aware

A lot of us remain unaware of the struggles that a deaf person faces every day, and we are typically unaware of how this may make them feel. Whether it’s withdrawn, isolated, or lonely.

By educating ourselves about different types and causes of deafness, we can discover what adjustments we can carry out to help improve the wellbeing of others. Though we may think these are only small changes - they can make a world of difference to the deaf community.

10 Tips for when speaking with D/deaf people.

Improve communication with D/deaf or hard of hearing people with a little help from our below tips. Please note that not every tip below will be appropriate for every person who is deaf or has hearing loss.

  1. Make sure they can always see your mouth
  2. Don’t say “It doesn’t matter”
  3. Write it down - use pen/paper, text on screens, or whiteboards
  4. Speak one at a time
  5. Smile and relax
  6. Get their full attention - use gestures like pointing or waving to get someone’s attention.
  7. Face the person you’re speaking to
  8. Speak clearly and avoid shouting
  9. Don’t speak too fast or unnecessarily slow.
  10. Re-phrase what you said - If someone doesn’t understand you, repeat what you said or phrase it differently

Don’t worry – ask advice

Not everyone communicates in the same way. Some deaf people may use combined methods like hearing aids and lipreading to communicate with others. Some may prefer to incorporate sign language or hand gestures. But you shouldn’t let your concerns about saying the wrong thing or approaching the topic incorrectly stop you from having the conversation. Instead, all you need to do is simply ask them how they communicate and what you can do to help. This way you’re respecting their needs and finding out what works.

An open conversation

It is possible that those with hearing difficulties may have adapted their daily routine to help manage their lifestyle, however it’s kind to check in with your deaf peers so they know they have your support if and when they need it.

Please remember that when communicating with a deaf person, alongside our 10 helpful tips above, it’s important to maintain eye contact and be patient. You should be open to the idea that you may need to rephrase a sentence or repeat yourself at times. By having an open conversation at the beginning and asking about their communication preferences, you can help make them feel comfortable and help the conversation run smoother.

Communication tips for people with hearing loss

If you are deaf or have hearing loss, we have some tips you can use to help people better understand your communication needs. Again, please not that not every tip below will be appropriate for every person who is deaf or has hearing loss.

You should always make people aware that you are deaf or have hearing loss, and of your preferred communication style.

Where lipreading is possible:

  1. Make sure the other person is facing you
  2. Make sure you can see their face clearly
  3. Make sure the person gets your attention before they start speaking
  4. Ask them to speak normally and not exaggerate their lip movement
  5. Write things down – use pen on paper, text on device screens or whiteboards

When someone cannot use visual cues (on the telephone or when wearing a mask):

  1. Ask them to speak clearly
  2. Ask them to repeat or say things differently if you do not understand what they have said
  3. Reduce background noise as much as possible by moving to a quieter space if possible
  4. Use assistive devices like remote microphones with hearing aids to improve the quality of speech over background noise
  5. If possible, ask them to speak to a relative or friend.

Not everything we mentioned above will be relevant to all hearing loss situations but it’s a good starting point. We hope we have been able to help enlighten you in some way or another as our aim is to spread the awareness and share the resources that can help you support those who are deaf or have hearing loss. We are always thrilled to hear from you, and if you have anything to add to this page, then please do let us know!

Why Sarabec Ltd?

At Sarabec Ltd, the leading UK suppliers of hearing equipment, including loop systems, extra loud doorbells, phones, and other products, we aim to offer a layer of independence while supporting the day-to-day living of those with a hearing impairment.

We’re here to help.

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