Did you know that 12 million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss? That’s around one in six of us. Often referred to as a ‘hidden’ disability, the barriers faced by people with hearing loss are not always obvious – but they’re very real.
Is your business deaf aware?
During Deaf Awareness Week (4 – 10 May 2020) leading UK charity Action on Hearing Loss ran a campaign called ‘What about us?’ which encouraged people with hearing loss to share stories about the barriers they’ve encountered, particularly in light of Covid-19, to help create a more deaf-friendly society. With millions of people currently working remotely, Action on Hearing Loss is on a mission to ensure that employees with hearing loss do not feel isolated and excluded. Here are their top tips to help your business be more deaf aware in lockdown and beyond.
Accessible video calls
The use of video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype has surged during the coronavirus crisis. Action on Hearing Loss has put together some helpful advice to enable staff with hearing loss to join in more easily, If you’re hosting a virtual meeting involving clients or colleagues with hearing loss, considering their needs will help them stay fully involved. For example, test the technology with staff with hearing loss ahead of the meeting, have the agenda visible, repeat questions if you know someone is struggling to hear and schedule a break if the meeting lasts longer than an hour. If you’re part of a meeting where one or more participants has hearing loss, some simple communication techniques will create a much more inclusive atmosphere: make sure the room is well lit so everyone can see your face, speak one person at a time and agree a signal when someone new wants to talk.
Inclusive team working tools
While seeing and hearing colleagues can help remote workers feel more connected to the rest of their team, constant video calls can be exhausting for people with hearing loss. A host of other communication tools are available for sharing documents, planning projects, and exchanging ideas without always needing face-to-face interaction. Slack simplifies communication into channels to easily track and follow team conversations, Google Docs allows documents to be created, shared and edited by multiple users at the same time and Whereby is a screen sharing tool for online collaboration, as well as offering video conferencing.
Deaf awareness training
Action on Hearing Loss has provided many organisations with deaf awareness training to help staff communicate more confidently and effectively with colleagues and customers who have hearing loss. Half-day and full-day courses are available which are CPD accredited and can be tailored to the specific needs of your business. As soon as lockdown measures are lifted and people start returning to work, these popular courses will be up and running again.
Find out more
For more information about deaf awareness training, contact Action on Hearing Loss today.