Charity Action on Hearing Loss (AHL) has released guidelines on how communities can avoid excluding deaf people, in conjunction with Deaf Awareness Week, that will be running from May 6th to May 12th.
The charity has stated that life for those suffering from hearing loss can be made easier through a series of steps. These include making sure that the other person is fully attentive before you start speaking to them, having conversations in places that have both good lighting and are generally quiet for great lip-reading capability, and to fully face the person so that they can read your lips.
When speaking to deaf people, you should also try to always use plain language and use normal facial expressions, whilst always keeping your voice volume down. This is especially important if they are wearing hearing aids.
After everything is said, always check that they have understood; if not, you may need to repeat it but in a different way. An extreme measure may be to learn finger spelling or basic British Sign Language, but this should only be if you encounter a deaf person on a daily basis.
Many people that are suffering from a loss of hearing will avoid work or social occasions because they find it difficult to follow quick conversations. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the people around them to be more aware.
AHL chief executive Paul Breckell said: “During Deaf Awareness Week, we are encouraging everyone to follow our communication tips and help remove unnecessary barriers preventing people with hearing loss from joining in everyday fun conversations or important discussions.”
For more information, and to watch videos on how difficult it can be for people who cannot hear, visit their official website here. There is an online game for visitors to lip-read conversations and see if they can guess what is being said.