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Being deaf aware is not difficult – but it is very important. Without knowing it, you might be excluding people who have a hearing loss or making their daily life more difficult. This section tells you what you can do to improve your communication skills and promote awareness about hearing loss.
Depending on their level of hearing loss, people may need different types of communication support. Our resources can help you communicate better, whether you are deaf or hard of hearing yourself, or you want to improve communication with relatives, friends, colleagues and customers who have hearing loss.
The top communication tips sent in to us during Deaf Awareness Week 2010 were:
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
- Places with good lighting (so that you can be lipread) and little or no background noise are best for conversations.
- Face the person so you can be lipread and speak clearly, using plain language, normal lip movements and facial expressions.
- Check whether the person understands what you are saying and, if not, try saying it in a different way.
- Keep your voice down as it’s uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout and it looks aggressive.
- Learn fingerspelling or some basic British Sign Language (BSL).
People who are losing their hearing gradually may have particular needs for support and understanding as their circumstances change – see our factsheet Living with someone with gradual hearing loss(external link, opens new window) for more information.
Promoting deaf awareness
Can you help promote deaf awareness at your workplace, college or amongst friends? One simple thing you can do right now is get your colleagues thinking about their own hearing and why it matters. More than 560,000 people have already taken our free hearing check. It only takes five minutes. Do it online now, and encourage everyone you know to try it too.
Deaf awareness at work
Can you communicate clearly with colleagues and customers who are deaf or hard of hearing? Would you like to make your organisation more deaf aware? We offer deaf awareness training that can be tailored to your needs. Many organisations, from supermarkets to fire brigades, have already benefited from our popular courses.
Does your workplace have a working induction loop fitted in customer service areas? We often receive complaints about poorly maintained induction loops in public places. Check out our best practice guide to make sure that your workplace is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.