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It's Deaf Awareness week

Written by Sophie Rodrigues

Currently, over 1.5 billion people globally live with either mild or profound hearing loss. That’s 20% of the global population! In the UK, 1 in 6 people are deaf or hard of hearing.

This article has been assigned the following categories: Accessibility,

Deaf woman using mobile in Deaf Awareness week

What is deaf awareness week and why is it important?

Deaf awareness week is an annual event run by the UK Council on Deafness which aims to raise awareness of hearing loss. This year the event takes place on 2nd-8th May and explores the theme of Deaf Inclusion.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and the importance of including the deaf community within society. It will also address wider issues such as the neglect of deafness in education, health settings and the workplace.

As deafness is an invisible disability, those who suffer from it are often ignored or forgotten. This year, specifically, highlights that while the disability itself may be invisible, those who are affected are not.

As an inclusive and accessible marketing agency, we champion deaf inclusion through our commitment to web accessibility.

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the practice of making websites accessible to all, including those with disabilities, both hidden and visible. Removing any potential barriers for web interaction is essential to creating an inclusive society. Web accessibility is not just an ethical responsibility; it is often a legal requirement.

In recent years it has become critically important to be an inclusive brand that represents a diverse demographic. People buy from people, so neglecting to represent the needs of your audience could be hindering your ability to engage with them.

How do you make a website accessible for people with hearing loss?

Providing subtitles, captions and text transcripts for all audio content is the primary way of ensuring that a website is accessible for people with hearing loss. It’s important that they are synchronised with the audio content and the transcript has highlighted any speech so that the audience knows exactly where the speech is happening.

Implementing sign language interpretation may also be beneficial for websites where live information is transmitted and stored.

Start with accessibility

Putting accessibility at the start of a project benefits businesses and their hard of hearing or deaf customers. Too often, the issue of accessibility is too low down a project. Not just in websites.

Blaydon Communications Limited specialises in Audio Frequency Induction Loop Systems (A.F.I.L.S), used by hearing aid wearers to assist them to hear clearly in difficult acoustic environments e.g. churches, theatres, reception areas etc.

Blaydon’s great expert tech teams can guide on the real issues faced by people who are hard of hearing or deaf who rely on sound systems - as many as 5 in every 200 in a gathering. But in their experience on design, build or refurbishment projects, too many companies seek specialist advice as an afterthought, and are often price-driven.

Whether it’s for a website or for a quality solution for sound systems, using professional input in early specifications will be more cost-effective and adds vital social value to the project.

Let’s start showing a real commitment to deaf awareness and accessibility.