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National Deaf Awareness Week 2021

Deaf Awareness Week is an annual event that will next take place on the 4th-9th May 2021. Each year, the event focuses on a theme. In 2020, the event aimed to raise awareness of 'acquired deafness', which refers to people who lose their hearing during their life, rather than being born with hearing loss or deafness.

Here are some basic greetings in BSL

Aims of Deaf Awareness Week

In the UK alone, there are over 10 million people living with some form of hearing loss, whether it is mild or profound. 

Deaf Awareness Week is all about promoting the positive aspects of living with deafness. This event aims to raise awareness of the isolation that deaf people can occasionally experience, and promote the importance of social inclusion around the deaf community. 

The event also raises awareness of BSL (British Sign Language), which is a language used by many people in the UK who are born deaf.

The UK Council on Deafness wants to celebrate all of the amazing local organisations around the UK that support deaf people and their families and friends during Deaf Awareness Week. 

Five Deaf Awareness Facts 

 

  1. Hearing loss and deafness is defined as a hidden disability.
  2. As well as BSL, there are international sign languages including American Sign Language and French Sign Language. 
  3. Within the UK, there are regional variations of BSL just like there are with spoken language.
  4. Lip-reading helps deaf people to understand what others are saying, but even the best lip-readers still miss up to 40% of what has been said. 
  5. The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists highlighted that the rise in the use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic makes it harder for people with hearing loss to communicate. Face coverings with a transparent panel over the mouth have now been created so that people can still lip-read through masks. 

How can I be more deaf aware?

  • Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
  • Stand or sit in a place with good lighting, so that you can be lip-read.
  • Try to find a quiet place to communicate with little background noise as this can be distracting.
  • Use your usual voice level. If a deaf person uses a hearing aid it can be very uncomfortable for them and can seem as though you are shouting.
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