ITV Signpost is this week challenging you to learn a phrase a day to mark Deaf Awareness Week.
The awareness week, running from May 3-9, aims to raise awareness and challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness across the UK.
That is 1 in 5 people in the UK population.
The hashtag, #DAW2021 is also being used as part of an online campaign to celebrate Deafness, raise awareness and encourage change and positivity.
Here at ITV, we're proud to work with a multi-skilled team of professionals who provide on-screen sign language content.
ITV Signpost runs British Sign Language-accessible services for sign users online.
Everyday this week, they are posting on social media with a new phrase in British Sign Language.
Deaf awareness tips:
Did you know?
Hearing loss and deafness is defined as a hidden disability.
As well as BSL, there are international sign languages including American Sign Language and French Sign Language.
Within the UK, there are regional variations of BSL 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 Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists highlighted that the rise in the use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic makes it harder for people with hearing loss to communicate. Face coverings with a transparent panel over the mouth have now been created so that people can still lip-read through masks.
The British Deaf Association has written a beginners’ guide for communicating with Deaf people. Here are a few helpful tips:
For Deaf people with limited hearing, or lip-reading skills, speaking clearly will help
Speak clearly in whole sentences, without using abbreviations.
Be prepared to repeat yourself if the lip-reader doesn’t understand you first time
Even the best lip-readers only catch less than half of the words which are said to them, natural facial expressions and hand gestures can really help
Don’t be tempted to speak slowly, loudly or exaggerate your mouth movements, because that just makes things harder for the person trying to understand you
Make good eye contact; look directly at the deaf person, don’t turn away, and don’t cover your face or mouth
Remember to wait until the person is looking at you before you attempt to communicate
Don’t stand with a light or a window at your back; the light needs to be on your face
Begin the conversation by saying what you want to talk about
Be responsive; nod rather than saying “mmhmm”. Use gestures and body language where appropriate
Do speak clearly and slightly slower, but don’t shout as this will distort your lip patterns; keep your head fairly still
If you’re really stuck you can write something down
Best of all, learn British Sign Language!