Over 430 million people in the world are deaf or hard of hearing. This blog aims to raise awareness and challenge perceptions for those who live with some degree of hearing loss. We all need to strive to be inclusive.
Despite good intentions, we are sometimes unaware of the barriers that other people face. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and be better. Here, we discuss and celebrate the positive aspects of living with deafness. We will also highlight some useful resources on improving communication with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Here’s to a more inclusive world!
What is Deaf Awareness Week?
Deaf Awareness Week 2021 is between 3rd - 9th May. This is a national event for the United Kingdom (UK) which aims to raise awareness and challenge perceptions for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Deaf Awareness Week is all about promoting the positive aspects of living with deafness. This week also aims to raise awareness of the isolation that deaf people can sometimes experience, and promote the importance of social inclusion.
The theme of Deaf Awareness Week 2021 is ‘Coming through it together’.
Why is Deaf Awareness week important?
Before we start, lets dive right in with some facts:
- 1 in 6 people in the UK are living with some degree of hearing loss - that's more than 10 million people!
- By 2035, it's estimated that there will be 15.6 million people in the UK suffering from hearing loss.
- Over two thirds of people >70 years old have clinically significant hearing loss
Deaf Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles faced by deaf people and to promote the positive aspects of deafness. Ultimately, we are campaigning for better accessibility and social inclusion.
But why should we stop after this week? Most people are deaf or hard of hearing for the majority of their lives; we should continue to strive for increased accessibility and inclusion beyond this week.
Face to Face communication:
Here we discuss how to overcome the communication challenges brought on be face masks.
Face masks can be devastating for the deaf community. Seeing someone's face is essential for communication however this is even more important if you are deaf. This is because deaf people rely on lip-reading to communicate but also need to be able to see and understand facial expressions.
Improving communication whilst wearing a face mask:
- The first step is awareness - we can be mindful that people might struggle to understand speech delivered through a mask.
- Face masks with clear windows allow people to see our facial expressions and lip movements. Check out this website to find out about clear cafe masks & what to look for.
- Ensuring your environment is quiet can help people who are hard of hearing significantly.
- Using dictation or translation apps can be helpful. Check out this blog from the National Deaf Children’s Society about apps that can help conversations with deaf young people.
- Lastly, simple things such as; facing the person you are talking to, getting their attention before speaking, speaking reasonably slowly, repeating yourself if necessary and raising the volume of your voices slightly can help improve communication with masks on. Alternatively, write down what you are saying or draw a picture.
Technology has advanced drastically. Thankfully, there is a push towards increasing accessibility. Nowadays, there really isn't any reason not to make your content more accessible for everyone.
An easy way of doing this is to add subtitles to your videos. Adding subtitles to videos is a quick win when it comes to increasing accessibility. Subtitles allow deaf people to enjoy your content too. It is paramount that we continue to strive towards accessibility for everyone.
There are 3 main ways of adding subtitles to videos:
- Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). This is when a trained professional manually transcribes live speech into text in real time.
- Auto-generated subtitles. Auto-generated subtitles are subtitles that are automatically generated by a computer system.
- Manually generated subtitles. This is when someone manually transcribes a video.
Check out our blog on accessibility for more information on the pros and cons of the above subtitling techniques.
Adding auto-generated subtitles to your video content is the easiest and fastest way to improve accessibility. Editr is designed to be simple and easy to use; with just a few clicks you can export your newly subtitled video. So what are you waiting for, sign up to our early access waiting list now.
There are loads of resources out there to help us educate both ourselves and others. We have listed a few great resources we have come across below:
- Twinkl has some brilliant resources aimed at increasing children’s awareness of people who are deaf/hard of hearing. These resources are perfect for teachers or parents.
- The national deaf center have lots of resources covering a wide range of topics.
- British-sign run online British sign language courses. These courses are usually run for £25 however during the COVID-19 pandemic you can pay whatever price you feel you are able to afford. Please note: British-sign ask for a minimum contribution of £3.
- Sign health are a British charity that have a range of resources aimed at improving communication with deaf people.
Thanks for your time. We promise to continue to keep learning and promoting accessible video content for all!