This week has been Deaf Awareness Week and with being deaf myself and having deafness run deeply into my family's history on my Mother's side, it feels only right to spread awareness. One thing that is really important to me and what I want to do personally, is to break down barriers and the idea of how a deaf person should be.
I wanted to compile a list of all of the things that I believe people should be aware of when it comes to being deaf aware!
- If a deaf person hasn't heard you the first time and asks you to repeat yourself, DON'T say 'Oh it doesn't matter anymore' or 'It's not important don't worry'. This can lead to them feeling isolated, small and as though their opinion or thoughts aren't needed. DO be patient, explain yourself clearly and as a last resort, perhaps write it down!
- Whilst talking to somebody who is deaf, DON'T cover your mouth! Deaf people need to be able to see your mouth clearly in order to lip read and visually see the words that you are saying.
- During mid sentence, DON'T begin to walk off whilst still talking. As you get quieter, it becomes incredibly difficult for a deaf person to be able to hear you, especially if your back is turned!
- DO make sure you are always facing them, and make an effort to move your mouth in a more expressive way, but DON'T go too OTT with this as you can look incredibly patronising leaving a deaf person feeling embarrassed and as though it is drawing attention onto them.
- Whilst getting their attention, DON'T shout their name and expect them to turn around or answer as if a hearing person would. DO perhaps flick on a light switch, knock on a hard surface or become visible and in their eye line so they can visibly see you.
- If you are about to watch a film or watch the TV, DO offer to turn the subtitles on for them. You may not necessarily want them on, but they will feel a part of the experience and included in on what is going on around them, plus, most subtitles are sat at the bottom of the screen and don't take up much room!
- DON'T presume that just because a deaf person has good speech or can hear with their hearing aids in that it means that they're 'not deaf', everyone is different and there is a wide spectrum of deafness and with advanced technology available, this will still never take away their deaf identity.
- DO ask questions about their deafness! Many deaf people will want to talk about it and let you know how they're feeling and many deaf people are proud of their community and want to show it off in any way they can!
I do hope that this has helped you and if you have any other points that you feel I should add onto this list, then don't hesitate to let me know! You can view my most recent YouTube video where I teach the basic Alphabet and Numbers in BSL so why not give it a try!? Click here to view. I would also like to thank Sagittarius_and_libra for this incredible illustration of me, I can't thank you enough!
Don't forget to click that 'like' button below, and if you have enjoyed this post and would like me to raise more awareness about being Deaf, then let me know also. Thank you!