DEAF AWARENESS WEEK 2023
This year’s Deaf Awareness Week runs 01-07 May 2023 theme is “Access to Communication’’.
The aim of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week is to promote greater awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by the D/deaf community in accessing communication. The theme highlights the need for breaking down the communication barriers that prevent deaf people from fully participating in society.
The Deaf community often faces significant barriers to communication, which can lead to social isolation, limited employment opportunities, and reduced access to essential services. These barriers can include a lack of access to sign language interpreters, limited captioning and subtitling in videos and online content, and a general lack of awareness of the communication needs of Deaf individuals.
To address these issues, this year’s Deaf Awareness Week will focus on raising awareness of the communication needs of the Deaf community and advocating for greater access to communication tools and services. It will encourage individuals, organisations, and governments to work together to create a more inclusive society where Deaf individuals have the same access to communication as their hearing counterparts.
Through education, awareness-raising, and advocacy, we can break down the communication barriers that prevent Deaf people from participating fully in society. Let’s work together to create a world where access to communication is a fundamental human right for everyone, regardless of their hearing ability.
One of our local families who have participated in learning Family Sign
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Deaf Awareness Week is an important time to promote understanding, inclusivity, and support for the D/deaf and hard of hearing community. Here are some tips to help raise deaf awareness during this special week in 2023:
Learn Basic Sign Language: Take the initiative to learn some basic sign language. This can help you communicate with individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing and make them feel more included. Simple signs like greetings, thank you, and basic questions can go a long way in fostering communication.
Use Visual Communication: When interacting with someone who is D/deaf or hard of hearing, make sure to face them directly and maintain eye contact. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace, and use visual cues such as gestures and facial expressions to enhance understanding.
Be Mindful of Background Noise: Background noise can make it difficult for individuals with hearing loss to understand conversations. When possible, try to minimize background noise or move to a quieter location to ensure effective communication.
Caption Videos and Presentations: When creating or sharing videos and presentations, make sure to include captions or subtitles. This allows individuals with hearing loss to access the content and fully participate in discussions or events.
Provide Assistive Listening Devices: If you are organizing an event or meeting, consider providing assistive listening devices such as FM systems or loop systems. These devices can help amplify sound and improve accessibility for individuals with hearing loss.
Educate Others: Take the opportunity to educate others about deafness and hearing loss. Share information, resources, and personal experiences to raise awareness and dispel common misconceptions.
Promote Accessibility: Advocate for accessibility in public spaces, workplaces, and educational institutions. Encourage the use of visual alarms, accessible signage, and other accommodations that make environments more inclusive for individuals with hearing loss.
Support Deaf Organisations: Show your support for local deaf organisations and initiatives. Attend their events, volunteer your time, or make a donation to help them continue their important work in the community. Why not make that the Deafness Resource Centre. We would always welcome your support.
Foster Inclusive Communication: Encourage inclusive communication practices in your workplace, school, or community. Promote the use of visual aids, written communication, and other strategies that ensure everyone can participate and be understood.
Spread the Word: Use social media, local newspapers, and community bulletin boards to spread awareness about Deaf Awareness Week. Share stories, facts, and resources to engage others and encourage them to join in promoting deaf awareness.
Remember, deaf awareness is not limited to just one week. It should be practiced year-round to create a more inclusive and accessible society for all.
Are you Hard of Hearing? We have free equipment which could help improve communication
Want to learn British Sign Language?
Want to know more about our Deaf Awareness Training Courses
What it’s really like to be Deaf
People have all sorts of ideas about what it’s like to be Deaf. Help your friends be more Deaf aware by sharing these myth-busters with them.
All Deaf people can lip-read
Not all people can lip-read.
Lip-reading is hard work. It takes a lot of effort and concentration and can be really tiring. Not all lip patterns are recognisable. Try looking in a mirror and saying ‘pat’, ‘bat’, ‘mat’ without using your voice – can you tell the difference? Get your friends to try it too.
Even people who are good at lip-reading can only understand about 30% of what’s being said – the rest is guesswork.
Deaf people can’t enjoy music
Lots of Deaf people love music.
Some Deaf people can hear music, others might not be able to hear music very well but enjoy the vibrations.
There’s lots of technology that can help Deaf people enjoy music – find out more at how you can listen to music.
Sign language is the same everywhere
Just as there are thousands of different spoken languages around the world, there are hundreds of different sign languages.
Even English-speaking countries have their own sign languages (Britain has British Sign Language (BSL), the USA has American Sign Language (ASL) and Australia has Australian Sign Language (Auslan). In the UK we also have regional sign language, so there are often variations with certain words.
Want to learn sign language? learn with us here
Deaf people can’t use the phone
Lots of Deaf people use the phone
Some Deaf people can hear well enough to use standard phones, others use technology like amplified (really loud) phones.
Even if a Deaf person can’t hear on the phone they can text, FaceTime, Skype and use services like SignVideo.
Deaf people can hear everything with their hearing aids or cochlear implants
It can be really frustrating when people assume Deaf people can hear OK if they’re wearing their technology.
Hearing aids can help focus sounds and make them louder, and cochlear implants carry sound directly to the brain. But this doesn’t mean a Deaf person hears in the same way, or as well as a hearing person.
How Can I Support Deaf Awareness Week
Top tips for communicating with deaf people are as follows:
- Always face the person
- Speak clearly, slowly and steadily
- Don’t cover your mouth- so the person can lip read
- Repeat and rephrase if necessary
Additionally, you can do the following to support Deaf Awareness Week:
- Deaf awareness training
- Sign up for the Disability Confidence scheme
- Join the #WeSupportDeafAwareness campaign
- Review your technology – eg. Hearing loop systems and instant video relay services
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