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Deaf Awareness Week: Support for the Deaf Community

May 10, 2024 | Discover Our Blog

As Deaf Awareness Week approaches, we want to shine a light on the available resources and support for the deaf community. In the UK, 1 in 6 adults are affected by hearing loss, and around 900,000 people are severely or profoundly deaf. Despite its prevalence, there is still a general lack of understanding of deafness and its implications. Unfortunately, discrimination continues to be a problem today in the form of audist beliefs and behaviours.

support for deaf community sign language

What Is Audism?

The concept of ‘audism’, often overlooked, refers to discrimination or bias against individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Coined in 1975 by Tom L. Humphries and resurfaced in the 1990s, audism encompasses various forms of prejudice. Those supporting this perspective are called audists. Examples of audism include:

  • Assuming that deaf people with better speech skills are ‘superior’.
  • Refusing to explain situations to a deaf person when they’re happening – for example, if everyone around them is laughing.
  • Approaching deafness as a tragedy.
  • Not making the effort to communicate, or assuming that a deaf person won’t be able to understand you.

If you recognise any of these behaviours in yourself or others, it is important to speak up. It helps to recognise the unconscious bias you or those around you might have.

Support for the Deaf Community: the JDA

The Jewish Deaf Association (JDA) is a lifeline for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, regardless of their faith or background. They offer a range of support services, from vital information to fun social events, ensuring everyone feels connected and supported. Additionally, they provide support to their friends, families and caregivers.

One standout initiative from JDA is their Engage project, which partners with care homes to provide accessible care for residents with hearing loss. At SweetTree, we understand first-hand how important this work is to improve the quality of life of those who need care. Through specialised training and collaboration with management, Engage ensures that care homes have the tools and knowledge to support residents with hearing loss effectively.The Engage project collaborates with care homes to enhance their ability to offer accessible care for residents experiencing hearing loss. Alongside tailored training programs, Engage partners with management to establish crucial protocols and policies, ensuring that expertise and proficiency permeate every facet of the home. This comprehensive approach encompasses environmental considerations, activity planning, care plans, equipment usage, and assessments.

As we celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, let’s take a moment to appreciate the tireless efforts of organisations like JDA to provide support for the deaf community. SweetTree Home Care Services stands in solidarity with JDA and urges everyone to support initiatives that promote inclusivity and empowerment for all. Together, let’s continue to raise awareness and build a more inclusive society.