Image of man having hearing aid fitted illustrating Deaf Awareness Week 2021

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Deaf Awareness Week 2021, takes place 3-9 May with the theme of this year’s celebratory event being ‘Coming Through it Together’.

This theme will be one that most of us feel an affinity to given the last 12 months, but especially those within our organisation and in our lives, who experience hearing loss.

In the general population currently that’s 1 in 6 (11m in the UK), expected to increase to 1 in 5  (15.6m) by 2035. Within DE&S, the number could be higher than that – veterans under 70 are 3.5 times more likely than the general population to have hearing loss.

The implications of hearing loss can be wide ranging. Individuals might miss out both personally and professionally, and become more isolated. This in turn means they’re more likely to experience depression, anxiety or paranoia. They will likely try very hard to listen and understand, which causes mental exhaustion. Over the years, untreated hearing loss can speed up cognitive decline – individuals with severe hearing loss are up to five times more likely to develop dementia.

To help colleagues with hearing loss, we can make sure we are aware of the symptoms and learn how we can support them. 

During Deaf Awareness Week, the Deaf Issues Group in DE&S have a number of events running to  raise awareness of hearing loss, share the experiences of our colleagues with hearing loss, signpost the support DE&S currently offers and share what you can do to help your colleagues, friends and family with hearing loss.

An overview of our exciting events programme, can be seen below. To facilitate the British Sign Language interpreters and presenters, all events will be run on MS Teams, with the links provided in e-Solutions.

When each event takes place, a video of the BSL interpreter will be shown, so attendees will need to access the actual content slide packs in this shared area for each event when they are uploaded.

Event Programme

Cambridgeshire Deaf Association – Providing Support to the Deaf Community

When: 5 May 09:00-10:00
Presenters: Cambridgeshire Deaf Association
Get involved:  Join event on MS Teams

CDA or Cambridgeshire Deaf Association is a charity focused on improving the wellbeing of deaf people. The majority of the CDA staff are deaf or hard of hearing, meaning they have a deep understanding of deaf people and the support & expertise they need. During this presentation, two of CDA’s experienced deaf advocates will share with us their experience of providing support to the deaf community.

Lipreading awareness

When: 5 May 13:00-14:00
Presenter: Kirsteen Macdonald
Get involved:   Join event on MS Teams

Kirsteen Macdonald is a registered teacher of lipreading, representing Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults. This session will increase your understanding of lipreading and
will cover topics including:
– What is ATLA?
– Why lipreading is such an important skill.
– What does lipreading involve?
– Understanding why sometimes people hear things incorrectly.
– How we can make ourselves more lip readable.
Please, if possible, have a small handheld mirror available to you during the event.

Introduction to Hearing Loss

When: 6 May 10:00-11:30
Presenters: David McFarlane & Cat Lawrence
Get involved:   Join event on MS Teams

David McFarlane is a Safety Manager in DES Digital living with Hearing Loss. Cat Lawrence is the iLog Hearing Loss Challenge Lead. This session should increase your awareness of hearing loss and help you support those with hearing loss better. It covers hearing loss terminology, tinnitus, prevalence, implications of hearing loss and how we can all help. It will use DE&S employees’ real experiences, in particular David’s personal experience of hearing loss progression through the years.

Insights of a British Sign Language Interpreter

When: 6 May 13:00-14:00
Presenter: Prestige
Get involved:  Join event on MS Teams

This session will be led by an experienced BSL interpreter who will share with us their insights. In particular, using their experience of BSL and spoken English, they will cover the differences in language and culture. They will also share with us any tips about how best we can communicate and support colleagues across the languages.

MOD webinar (No interpreter needed, Defence run)

When: 6 May 15:30-16:30
Presenter: Wg Cdr Calvin Bailey
Get involved: Zoom meeting link (please paste this link into a personal device on the day)

Hosted by Wg Cdr Calvin Bailey of the CANDID Network, in conjunction with the Defence Hearing Network. Wg Cdr Bailey will ask questions and invite answers from a panel of serving personnel with hearing loss, who are expected to share their stories and personal experiences. This will be combined with the sharing of useful and relevant information on ways to access help and support. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions at the end.

Deaf Awareness Week summary and closure

When: 7 May 08:45-09:15
Presenter: V Adm Chris Gardner (D&I Champion)
Get involved:  Join on event MS Teams

V Adm Chris Gardner (D&I Champion) will reflect on the events of Deaf Awareness Week and share key messages to bring the week to a close.

Image by williamsje1 from Pixabay

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