Deaf Awareness Week, 1 to 7 May 2023

News | Posted on Friday 28 April 2023

The theme for Deaf Awareness Week 2023 is Access to Communication. The aim is to raise awareness about the communication challenges faced by deaf people and promote better access to communication tools and services.

There are approximately 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK, that is around one in six people.

When you meet a deaf person:

  • Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
  • If possible, find a place to talk that has good lighting, away from noise and distractions.
  • Face the person while you are speaking, don’t turn away
  • Speak clearly without shouting and not too slowly, and use normal lip movements, facial expressions and gestures.
  • Use plain language and don’t waffle
  • Repeat yourself if necessary
  • Never say ‘It doesn’t matter’
  • If the person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up! Try saying it in a different way, write it down or draw a picture
  • Speak one at a time, don’t talk over each other
  • Keep your mouth visible: don’t look away while speaking or cover your mouth with your hands.
  • Smile and relax
  • Don’t speak too quickly or too slowly
  • Please use gestures
  • If the person uses a sign language interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter

Ways to support a member of staff with hearing loss in the workplace

  • Position the member of staff with hearing loss in a work area that has good acoustics and where they can see the rest of the room.
  • Adjust the layout of a meeting room and use good lighting to help everybody see each other clearly, which is important for lipreading.
  • If you play music in your workplace, either turn this off or down.
  • Provide meeting papers in advance as this will help the member of staff prepare so they are able to focus on the speakers and/or discussions at the meeting.
  • For online meetings use the following facilities in Zoom and Google Hangouts :
    • recording (with attendees permission). This gives attendees the chance to go back and review and/or check some of the content
    • Captioning
    • Chat functions
  • See the University’s:

Support for students who have hearing loss

Students with hearing loss can contact Disability Services for advice on what support is available to them. 

Supporting students who have hearing loss

See useful guidance if you are a member of staff: Supporting students who are Deaf or hearing impaired students

Sources of information

Support for students:

Support for staff:

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680