“Blindness separates people from things;
deafness separates people from people.”
These powerful words are attributed to the author Helen Keller, who became blind and deaf in infancy, following an illness. The story of how Helen learned to communicate with the help of her teacher in late nineteenth century America is told in the Oscar-winning film, The Miracle Worker.
Communication remains an important challenge for people living with deafness or hearing loss today. This is a hidden disability which is often misunderstood and can leave people feeling socially isolated.
We may all struggle to hear amid the hubbub of a social gathering at one time or other. For the one in six of us in the UK who lives with some form of hearing loss, it can be a struggle to join in the conversation with family, friends or colleagues all the time. We can feel lonely even in company.
Please face me
As many as one in five people in Shropshire lives with hearing loss, because of this county’s older population. So Signal is encouraging the other four in five of us to follow some handy tips to include everybody in the conversation.
Facing the person in the room with hearing loss, reducing the amount of background noise and not speaking too quickly can all make life easier for this person. It can help them to make the most of their remaining hearing or to lip read and stay connected.
Here are Signal’s top tips for inclusive communication:
• Get my attention before speaking
• Face me
• Reduce distance to 1.5 metres
• Reduce amount of background noise
• Don’t shout
• Don’t speak too quickly
• Don’t cover your mouth
• Don’t turn away while talking
We have a leaflet featuring these communication tips. Please get in touch if you would like a copy.
Newsflash: National quality standard
It has achieved The National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (NCVO) quality standard.
Signal’s scheme offers one-to-one support for people across Shropshire, helping them to overcome the loss of confidence and everyday challenges that hearing loss can bring.