Action on Hearing Loss Scotland wants Christmas party organisers to take steps to show deaf awareness and ensure that people with hearing loss can fully enjoy the celebrations.
The charity is highlighting the following deaf awareness and communication tips:
• Make sure you are facing your party guest and get their attention before you start speaking – perhaps by waving or tapping them on the arm.
• Find a suitable place to talk, away from loud noise or distractions.
• Start by asking the guest if they need to lipread and, if they do, use natural facial expressions, don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing and have the conversation in a well-lit part of the room.
• Speak clearly, not too slowly, and don't exaggerate your lip movements.
• Don't shout as it can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and looks aggressive.
• Use plain language, don't waffle and check that your guest is following the conversation. If they don't understand what you've said, try saying it in a different way.
• If you're using communication support, such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the guest who is deaf.
Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We are encouraging everyone in Scotland to consider how they can include people who are deaf or hard of hearing when families or the community come together for Christmas celebrations.
“People with hearing loss can often feel left out during noisy social events as background sounds can often make it very difficult to follow conversations and other guests may not know the best ways to communicate with them.
“By following our charity’s simple deaf awareness tips, party organisers can reduce the risk of their deaf or hard of hearing relatives, friends or neighbours experiencing social isolation or loneliness during this season of goodwill.”
For information about hearing loss, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone/text: 07388 227407