In the UK, there are over 10 million people suffering from some sort of hearing loss, whether it is mild or profound. National Deaf Awareness Week is all about trying to promote the positive aspects of living with deafness, while also raising awareness of the isolation that deaf people feel every day. Continue reading to find out more about National Deaf Awareness Week and why it’s important to so many people.

What is National Deaf Awareness Week?

Deaf Awareness Week is an annual event in the UK that is taking place between 2-8 May 2022. As well as raising awareness for deafness and loneliness, this event also promotes the importance of social inclusion around the Deaf community.

During National Deaf Awareness Week, awareness of British Sign Language (BSL) is also raised. This is a language that the Deaf community uses to communicate around the UK. It is separate from general sign language due to its regional variations, just like accents in spoken word.

Deaf Awareness Week facts

Here are four facts that you should know this National Deaf Awareness Week:

  • As well as British Sign Language, there are international sign languages including American Sign Language and French Sign Language.
  • Hearing loss and deafness is defined as a hidden disability.
  • Lip-reading helps deaf people understand what others are saying, but even the best lip-readers can miss around 40% of what has been said.
  • The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists highlighted that the rise in the use of face masks because of the Covid-19 pandemic has made 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.

National Deaf Awareness activities

National Deaf Awareness Week is the perfect time to support the Deaf community by attending deaf awareness activities. If you’re not sure of the types of activities or events you can participate in, consider some of the ideas below.

  • Attend a class or course and try to learn British Sign Language
  • Watch and share stories from deaf creators
  • Support deaf businesses and charities
  • Advocate for deaf accessibility at your place of work and within your community
  • Volunteer at foundations and schools for the deaf

These are just a few of the deaf awareness activities you can take part in to show your support for the Deaf community. This is why National Deaf Awareness Week holds such importance in the calendar.

How you can support National Deaf Awareness Week

There are ways you can support National Deaf Awareness Week aside from attending activities. Primarily, in the way you treat and interact with deaf people every day. Here are some steps you can take to be more deaf aware in future:

  • Stand or sit in a place with good lighting, so that you can be lip-read.
  • Ensure you have the person’s attention before speaking.
  • Find a quiet place to communicate with little background noise; this can be distracting.
  • Use your normal voice level. If a deaf person uses a hearing aid it can be uncomfortable for them and can come across as if you’re shouting.

Seashell’s history with the Deaf community

Seashell Trust has a long history and connection to the Deaf community having first opened a school for deaf children in the mid-1820s. At first, just 14 children (eight girls, six boys) attended. Soon, demand started to soar and in 1837 came the opening of Seashell’s first purpose-built school in Old Trafford.

An infant and upper school soon followed, but it wasn’t until 1894 that state education provisions were extended to deaf children. Three years later, the school was bestowed with the royal patronage of Queen Victoria during the year of her diamond jubilee. It was a fitting acknowledgement for the decades of educational service provided by the school and its staff.

If you would like to know more about Seashell’s relationship with deaf people, how the charity helps children with complex needs, and what we do, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0161 610 0100 or email us at