NHS Logo
As One Logo

International Week of Deaf People

20 Sep 22

International Week of Deaf People takes place this week and the Trust is sharing information to highlight issues affecting the hard of hearing community and how we are helping to improve access to services to support service users, carers and staff.

The theme of the week is Building Inclusive Communities for All and we are encouraging everyone to play their part in widening understanding and recognition for people with hearing difficulties.

Among the topics covered are the use of Makaton, the importance of body language to the hard of hearing community and mental health issues.

Sign language: British Sign Language (BSL) is a recognised language in its own right, and is capable of both great nuance and tremendous clarity. Sign languages are fully functional and expressive languages; at the same time they differ profoundly from spoken languages. BSL is a visual-gestural language with a distinctive grammar using handshapes, facial expressions, gestures and body language to convey meaning. At HPFT we are able to offer BSL translation and interpreting services, for service users and their loved ones, if you require this service please contact hpft.equality@nhs.net. 

Body language: We understand that body language is exceptionally important to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Using Dr Albert Mehrabian’s study of body language communication as a baseline helps to underline that people understand more from non-verbal communication than the verbal.

His conclusion is that we must all therefore pay greater attention to our nonverbal indicators,  especially during a time where lip reading and facial expressions are blocked by masks or screens.

See Hear Me Out! “The power of non-verbal communication & how deaf people depends on it” at https://youtu.be/3fMQagNNIo0

Mental health: Hearing loss can also affect more than just hearing. Mental health problems within the deaf community are prevalent. We know that deafness is not the cause of psychological problems but rather, it is a more likely a result of experiencing poor accessibility and understanding, leading to social withdrawal or social isolation.

We all need to remember the fundamentals of communication to help ensure that we are communicating effectively with people - use eye contact, ensure you have someone’s attention, use body language and gestures including signs if appropriate, adapt to their pace, and follow the lead of the person you are communicating with.

International Day of Sign Languages: This takes place this Friday, 23 September under the theme,  Sign Languages Unite Us!

Contact Us