Deaf Awareness Week is about promoting the positive aspects of living with deafness. It aims to raise awareness of the isolation that deaf people can occasionally experience and promote the importance of social inclusion around the deaf community.
There are over 10 million people in the UK living with some form of hearing loss, whether it is mild or severe. Students in Surrey have told us about their experiences.
‘It’s alright to be deaf, sometimes I don’t feel like I blend in with the class which is totally fine.
Most of the time people look at me weird just because I have hearing aids even if it’s not bothering them. There are challenges, like not being able to hear people in such a loud area or not being able to hear others as well as they can hear you. There are some advantages, like being asleep you can’t really hear anything and being able to turn my hearing aid volume up and down when I feel like it. Sometimes I would love for other people to be aware of it’.
‘I like being deaf because it is unique and different. I have to wear cochlear implants as hearing aids don’t work for me. Being deaf has lots of languages such as British Sign Language. Sometimes I use sign language to talk to those who can’t speak and sign to songs for fun! Lots of people tend to ask lots of questions and sometimes just stare. For those who ask questions, I feel confident to talk about what it is and how someone has to talk face to face to me in so I can pick up the words and lipread.’
‘I find being Deaf is part of who I am. I can hear people’s conversations through Bluetooth live if I leave my phone where people are which can be really fun at home’.
‘I was diagnosed with deafness when I was 9 weeks old so I have many experiences with what its like being deaf. There are many advantages and disadvantages that come with this but I have come up with ways to deal with things when they get difficult. I like being deaf as it makes me stand out from others, I am able to have a wide range of friends from both the hearing and deaf world. I struggle though when hearing people aren’t deaf aware because I find it difficult to understand them if, for example, they are talking whilst facing away from me. I need to be able to see their lips so I can read them to understand better. Teachers wear a Roger in class to allow deaf students to hear them better and clearer. Lastly, I swim a lot too and of course I cant wear my hearing aids in the swimming pool so its hard to hear the coaches when they are giving instructions. They are very deaf aware though which is great! These are some of my examples of being deaf’.
‘I think being Deaf can make you feel unique, and I can use my Deafness to my advantage! For example. I went on a bus and I had lost my Oyster card. I moved my hair behind my ear, so the bus driver could see my hearing aid and I said I was Deaf. He let me on the bus!’
Deaf awareness week also raises awareness of British Sign Language, which is used by many people that are born deaf in the uk. It’s always good to learn new things so maybe give it a go.
For more information about sign language please visit British Sign
Written by, Natasha Dawe School Nurse
Deaf Awareness Facts
- Hearing loss and deafness is defined as a hidden disability.
- As well as British Sign Language, there are international sign languages including American Sign Language and French Sign Language.
- Within the UK, there are regional variations of British Sign Language just like there are with spoken language.
- Lip-reading helps deaf people to understand what others are saying, but even the best lip-readers still miss up to 40% of what has been said.
The students also spent some time looking at role models and in particular Luke Christian. He is a fashion designer that has designed t-shirts for Red Nose Day. To learn more about him and his experiences of being deaf why not visit his interview on The Limping Chicken, a popular deaf blog.