Ways to include the deaf in conversation

Around 1.5 billion people globally live with hearing loss, however roughly one in two people don't know how to engage with someone who is deaf, according to UK figures. - dpa

ONE IN 10 members of the public would actively avoid communicating with a deaf person for fear of not knowing how to engage with them, a new poll in the UK suggests.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the British hearing loss charity RNID, also found that 59% of people in the UK would not feel confident communicating with someone who is deaf or has hearing loss.

Almost half (48%) of the 2,095 UK adults surveyed by YouGov said they do not know how to communicate with someone who is deaf or has hearing loss.

About 1 in 5 people, or more than 1.5 billion people globally, live with hearing loss, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The RNID recently launched a new campaign to mark Deaf Awareness Week to encourage people who have not been diagnosed with hearing loss to communicate with people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

Repeat and rephrase if someone does not understand. - 123rf.comRepeat and rephrase if someone does not understand. - 123rf.com

”These findings lay bare just how much everyday stigma and misunderstanding [...] people who are deaf or have hearing loss in the UK face in daily life,” Teri Devine, director for inclusion at RNID said.

”We want to encourage everyone to practise our simple communication tips during Deaf Awareness Week, shared by deaf people and people with hearing loss, so that everyone is included in conversation,” Devine said.

”Despite the majority of people saying they lack experience talking to deaf people and people with hearing loss, hearing loss affects one in five adults, so the chances are there is someone in your family, your friendship group or at work.”

The charity is urging the public to use the acronym EAR to help communicate with people with hearing loss. This includes:

* Environment - making sure the environment is appropriate by reducing background noise or moving to a quieter area while making sure the room is well lit for someone who lip reads.

* Attention - use simple gestures such as pointing, waving or a light tap on the shoulder to get someone’s attention, face the person you are speaking to so they can lip read, and speak to them, not their interpreter or anyone else with them.

* Repeat and rephrase if someone does not understand. If this does not work, you could write it down, or speak to a friend or relative if they ask you to. - dpa

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