Monday 7th – Sunday 13th May is deaf awareness week where the aim is to improve understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading. Supported by over one hundred deaf charities and organisations under the umbrella of the UK Council on Deafness, Deaf Awareness Week involves a UK wide series of national and local events.
After receiving a cochlear implant after suffering many years of deafness after a work related accident, and then sudden hearing loss, Abergavenny resident David Walters is now hoping to support other people who have undergone sudden hearing loss by introducing them to the charity Hearing link. The charities aim is to achieve the best quality of life for adults affected by hearing loss, whose main method of communication is speech.
David was at his lowest point when his GP suggested he contact Hearing Link and he applied for their intensive rehabilitation course. The course in Eastbourne resulted in a changed perspective as it provided strategies for coping with sudden deafness and showed that there was a positive future ahead. The hope for the future is to have two annual courses in Wales but there is still some way to go and David is currently one of only 2 volunteers for Hearing Link in Wales.
By sharing his own experiences, either through personal visits or via e-mail, David hopes to reassure people that they are not alone and also to give them advice on hearing aids and the stages of receiving a cochlear implant.
You can contact Dave for advice and support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearing loss facts
- Nearly 15% of the population have some degree of deafness. For every 10,000 people:
- 10 will be born profoundly deaf. They probably get little or no benefit from Hearing Aids and mainly use Sign Language to communicate.
- 20 will have become profoundly deaf. They may use Sign Language and probably lipread.
- 100 will be partially deaf. They may have difficulty following what is being said, even with hearing aids. Mostly they will lipread and some use sign language as well.
- 600 will be hard of hearing. They will be able to follow what is being said with a hearing aid and will be able to use a telephone if it has an adjustable volume or has been designed to be used with a hearing aid.
- 800 will be mildly hard of hearing. They may have difficulty following conversations particularly in large groups or in noisy situations. Some will wear hearing aids and many find lipreading helpful.
- British Sign Language (BSL) is the first or preferred language of around 70,000 people in the UK.
- About 2 million people in Britain wear hearing aids, maybe another million would benefit from doing so.
- Almost all deaf and hard of hearing people rely on lip-reading to some extent.
- Many combine signs from BSL with English in order to communicate.