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Deaf Awareness Week 3rd – 9th May 2021

One in five adults in the UK is deaf or has hearing loss.

Every day, you’re likely to meet someone who is deaf or has some level of hearing loss. There are 12 million people affected in the UK, and they all face different communication challenges that can lead to frustration and loneliness. So, if you meet someone who is deaf or has hearing loss, ask them what you can do to make communication easier.

How to communicate with someone who is deaf or has hearing loss

People who are deaf or have hearing loss have individual communication needs and you should ask someone how best you can communicate with them. Not every tip below will be appropriate for every person who is deaf or has hearing loss.

Remember, people who rely on facial expressions and lipreading to communicate are finding communication especially difficult during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

These tips are particularly important when you are speaking to someone on the telephone or are wearing a mask or face covering:

  • Make sure you are facing the person you are talking to and speak clearly – avoid shouting, speaking too fast or unnecessarily slow.
  • If someone doesn’t understand you, repeat what you said or phrase it differently, use plain language.
  • If you are in a noisy place, move to a quieter area if possible.
  • Use simple gestures such as pointing or waving to get someone’s attention.
  • Write things down – use pen on paper, text on device screens, or whiteboards.
  • If they ask you to, speak to a relative or friend.