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Deafness Awareness Week 2024


deafness awareness week
Image Credit: https://n-somerset.gov.uk/

With more than five percent of the world’s population living with hearing loss, there is a good chance that you know someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Deaf Awareness Week’s aim this year is to celebrate love and trust. The goal this year is to foster a collaborative environment where individuals, organizations, and governments can work together to create a more inclusive society.  To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week this week, we are shedding light on how to support the deaf community, making their lives that liitle bit easier.

 

What is Deaf Awareness Week?

 

Deaf Awareness Week is taking place this year from the  6th  to  the 12th of  May, 2024. It’s a week dedicated to encourage children, the young generation and all others to celebrate and advocate the deaf community, making them feel confident and inclusive in their society. It increases public awareness about all the issues that affect the deaf people and culture as a whole.  This week reminds the public that deaf people have their own communities, languages, cultures and sign languages, which all unite them, yet make them still equal to the rest of their society and they should be treated accordingly.

 

Deafness and hearing loss have a range of challenging implications, especially when it comes to communication. These challenges are no small feat! We all must do our part to support those who need help and learn more about how deafness can impact their lives. Through education and advocacy, we can break down barriers to reach a place where communication access is a major human right for all, regardless of their hearing ability.

 

How to Communicate with a Deaf Person?

 

Sometimes we don’t notice someone has hearing loss or is deaf. There are lots of ways that deaf people communicate and understand what others are saying.

 

  • Lip reading is one way where the deaf person is able to watch the movement of the other person’s mouth to interpret what they are saying.

  • Other people use hearing aids, making external sounds louder for the wearer.  

  • Radio aids are sometimes used in schools where teachers wear a microphone that sends amplified signals of their voice into the person’s hearing aid.

  • Closed captioning is used when speech is written and noise is described using text on screen to follow videos.

 

Sign Language and The Deaf Community

 

Sign language is a visual language that uses body movements and hands, paired with facial expressions, to convey the right meaning within the deaf community. It is considered the primary mode of communication. It allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy their  rights just like anyone else. They are able to learn, socialize and work. It creates a connection between the deaf and hearing people, reducing the communication barrier between them.

 

What Can We Do to Support People with Hearing Loss/ Deafness?

 

There are many ways to support people who are deaf or with hearing loss. One of the best ways is to make sure they are not excluded. Don’t exclude them from groups and activities assuming they won’t understand or be able to follow conversations. That is not true at all! This week aims to bring attention to the isolation deaf people occasionally experience, heightening the importance of inclusion in their community.

 

In order to make things easier for deaf people or those with hearing loss, you can do the following tips:

 

  • Don’t cover your mouth. Keep it on show.

  • Don’t speak too quickly or slowly.

  • Face the person directly without moving your head too much.

  • Try to avoid standing in front of or near a light source. It will make it more difficult to see your face clearly.

  • Use visual aids, body language and gestures when appropriate.

  • Don’t tell them you will “explain it later” or “it doesn’t matter” when they miss part of a conversation. Repeat when necessary.

  • Don’t try to speak to them when they are not paying attention to you or watching something else. If the person doesn’t respond immediately, a tap on the shoulder or any other visual signal is appropriate.

 

Accessibility for Deaf People

 

There are many accessibility tools that can make everyday life way easier for people with deafness problems. These tools boost more autonomy so the person can be included more in society in a fair and equitable way.

 

  • Include subtitles and a Sign Language interpreter. This ensures accessibility for the deaf to watch videos and receive the information being transmitted by audio.

 

  • Include online videos with resources for hearing-impaired people. Videos became part of our daily lives so if starting the fight for accessibility in TV stations and movies is harder, we can start with ourselves on social media, even if it is only an Instagram story.

 

  • Include caption video and audio content in public places such as train stations, airports, human service agencies, presentations and social media. This makes them more included.

 

  • Provide accessible technology in the workplace such as flashing lights for fire alarms, doorbells, phones and computers. Caption phones can be useful for equal access communication if available.

 

Being deaf brings lots of challenges. That is why it is up to everyone to come together and coordinate to create a more inclusive society that values every individual. Let us build a world rooted in love and open communication. All it takes to lay the foundation is advocacy, respect, education, awareness and some individual effort! We have an entire week dedicated to Deaf Awareness, but it doesn’t end there! This work should be all around the year!

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