New College supports Deaf Awareness Week, 3rd to 9th May 2021

04 May 2021

Deaf Awareness Week – 3rd to 9th May 2021

According to research by the UK Council on Deafness, there are around 11 million people in the UK suffering with hearing loss, with at least 24,000 people using British Sign Language as their main language.

In order to raise awareness about hearing loss and deafness, the 3rd to 9th May, 2021 is Deaf Awareness Week (DAW).

DAW aims to raise awareness of the isolation that deaf people can occasionally experience, promoting the positive aspects of living with deafness and aims to challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness across the UK. It also looks to promote social inclusion and raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.

The theme for this years DAW is “coming through it together” and after a year of face coverings and social distancing, deaf people and those with hearing loss are still facing communication challenges on a daily basis.

Here at New College, supporting all of our learners effectively and improving awareness of differentiation is always a top priority, so during DAW we wanted to share some of the best practices we use to help our students.

While we have been working to ensure our remote learning has been as engaging as possible, we have also been utilising features such as “captions” during online lessons, and enhancing PowerPoints with live subtitles, to ensure they are accessible for all. In some instances, we have also been inviting a BSL interpreter into remote learning lessons to sign for hearing impaired students and during face to face lessons.

Of course the rise in the use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic makes it harder for people with hearing loss to communicate, but transparent face coverings are now widely available and are used throughout the college so people can still lip-read.

Other classroom considerations are also possible such as proximity to the lecturer, or any technology being used, as well as minimising distractions from excessive noise or light, using shades and window coverings to reduce glare or adding materials into a room to absorb echo.

Here at New College, we have been successfully using the Redcat classroom audio sound system for some time with our hearing impaired students. Teaching staff have implemented this assistive technology to allow students to hear more clearly during class.

Our staff are provided with training and information on how they can help hearing impaired learners so that lessons and content is as inclusive as possible.

Here are a few tips from the UK Council of Deafness to help ensure you can be inclusive:

  • Face the person while you are speaking,
  • Don’t turn away
  • Repeat yourself if necessary
  • Never say ‘It doesn’t matter’
  • If the person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up!
  • Write it down or draw a picture
  • Speak one at a time, don’t talk over each other
  • Keep your mouth visible
  • Smile and relax
  • Don’t speak too quickly or too slowly

For more information on DAW, please visit: https://www.deafcouncil.org.uk/