2 to 8 May is Deaf Awareness Week, led by UK Council on Deafness (UKCOD), and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).
According to gov.uk, around 11 million people in the UK (around 1 in 7) are deaf, or hard of hearing. This includes over 50,000 children and young people.
The two themes for this year’s event are inclusion, and the importance of mental health.
Inclusion and understanding
Deafness isn’t necessarily a visible condition.
You might pick up on certain signs and symptoms, but it may be difficult for you or someone else to talk about it openly.
Being deaf or hard of hearing can affect all areas of a person’s day to day life.
Adjusting to working and school environments, talking to friends and family, and even something as simple as watching content on social media can impact a person’s self-confidence and levels of stress.
Patience and understanding can be the biggest challenges both to people experiencing deafness or poor hearing, and to their loved ones and colleagues who try to help.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help yourself and others:
- Take your time to speak clearly
- Face the person you’re talking to
- If possible, try to make sure your mouth isn’t obstructed, to help with lip reading
- Offer other ways of sharing instructions or details if it will help such as written content, and moving to a quieter place if you’re in a busy work or school environment
- Turn down background noise from things like TVs, radios, speakers
You can find more suggestions on different charity and community forums, by visiting the websites listed below.
Signs to look for
Common signs of deafness and hearing loss can include:
- Difficulty hearing other people clearly, especially in noisy places
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need
- Difficulty hearing on the phone
- Finding it hard to keep up with a conversation
- Feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening
If you do notice any of these signs, it doesn’t always mean that you’re losing your hearing.
Sometimes, someone else like a family member or work colleague might notice problems with your hearing before you do.
Visit the NHS website to read more about symptoms and treatments (opens new browser tab)
Speak to your GP if you’re concerned and would like a further assessment on your hearing.
Some high street shops such as Specsavers may also offer free hearing tests.
How we’re supporting patients and staff
We’re working to improve all our online content, to make it as accessible as possible.
This includes adding subtitling on our videos, and where possible, providing alternative ways for patients to get the same information from videos in different formats such as leaflets.
Read more about our commitments to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (opens new browser tab)
Find out more
Action on Hearing Loss - Learning British Sign language
Action on Hearing Loss have published a short guide on how to learn BSL, including a Fingerspelling alphabet, and common greetings and conversation gestures
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
Visit the NDCS website (opens new browser tab)
Our Hearing and Balance services
If you're worried about your hearing and balance (vestibular), or you’re concerned that you may have tinnitus, we may be able to help you.
Visit our Adult Hearing and Balance (Audiology) service page (opens new browser tab)
Visit our CYPF website for Communication and Hearing related services (opens new browser tab)
UK Council on Deafness (UKCOD)
Visit the UKCOD website (opens new browser tab)
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) are sharing the stories of children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Search #MyDeafStory on social media to find out more.
Visit Twitter to see #MyDeafStory posts (opens new browser tab)