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Deaf Awareness Week

Deaf Awareness Week celebrates the deaf community and aims to highlight the barriers that deaf and hearing impaired people face on a daily basis. By raising awareness and recognising how important it is to educate ourselves of the deaf community, we can take steps to be more inclusive and celebrate diversity.

Hearing loss is common, particularly as you get older, but it can however be harder to spot in babies. Some people are born with hearing loss, but most cases develop as you get older. It may be caused by something treatable or it may be permanent. One in five adults in the UK have some degree of hearing impairment or deafness.

Signs of hearing loss include:

  • Difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, 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

It is time to see a GP if you have problems with your hearing. It could be caused by something that can be easily treated. Your GP can check for any problems and may refer you to an audiologist or an ENT specialist for further tests.

Treatment for hearing loss depends on the cause and how severe it is. Things to help improve a persons hearing and communication can include:

  • Digital hearing aids – which are available through the NHS

  • Bone anchored implants – suitable for people who are unable to use hearing aids

  • Middle ear implants – suitable for some people who are unable to use hearing aids

  • Cochlear implants – for people who find hearing aids aren’t powerful enough

  • Lip reading and/or sign language – such as British Sign Language (BSL)

The deaf community often faces issues with communication, which can lead to social isolation, limited employment opportunities, and reduced access to essential services. This can be caused by a lack of access to sign language interpreters, limited captioning and subtitling in videos and online content, and a general lack of awareness of the communication needed for deaf individuals. Through education, awareness-raising, and support, these barriers can be broken down to allow the deaf and hearing impaired to participate fully in society.

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