Dawn Butler, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, has marked Deaf Awareness Week in Parliament by encouraging people to be more deaf aware.
Deaf Awareness Week is an annual event, which this year ran from 6-12 May, which aims to raise awareness and challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness across the UK.
According to Action on Hearing Loss, there are 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK – that’s one in six people.
And according to recent statistics by the British Deaf Association: 151,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language, 87,000 of those people are deaf.
Dawn has therefore used this occasion to raise awareness for deaf and hard of hearing people in society and what people can do to improve communication.
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, said:
“I was proud to mark Deaf Awareness Week for all those deaf or hard of hearing people in my constituency, and it’s vital that we all use this occasion to become more deaf aware. There are some simple steps that we can all take to do that.
First, look at the person face to face, so they can see your lip movements. Secondly, speak clearly, not too slowly and use normal lip movements, expressions and gestures. And thirdly, don’t shout, keep your voice down, as it’s uncomfortable for someone with a hearing aid – plus it also makes you look a little bit stupid!
It is also important that we continue to spread the positive message of the incredible contribution people who are deaf and hard of hearing make to our society”.
Dawn has also thanked and acknowledged the many organisations that do important work in supporting people who are deaf or hard of hearing, both in Brent and across the UK – including Action on Hearing Loss, UK Council on Deafness, National Deaf Children’s Society, British Deaf Association, UK Deaf Sport, Deaf Action, Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club, plus many more.
Dawn, who has a level two qualification in British Sign Language (BSL), became the first Member of Parliament ever to ask a question in the House of Commons using BSL back in March 2017, when she asked the Government to bring forward a BSL bill to give BSL the same status that other languages have in the UK.