The national week, which runs every year, aims to highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and promote Deaf Awareness among the general public. The theme for this year is inclusion.
The council is working with Citizens Advice North Somerset to launch a survey to find out more about Deaf and hard of hearing people’s experiences across North Somerset.
Cllr Mike Bell, North Somerset Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing, explains:
“We’re committed to making North Somerset a fairer place for everyone to live in. Because deafness is not a visible condition, deaf and hard of hearing people can feel misunderstood, unseen, invisible and isolated.
“To mark Deaf Awareness Week, we’re launching a survey to find out which organisations in North Somerset are Deaf Aware and go out of their way to help people, and which are not. When the results are in, we’ll offer some free Deaf Awareness sessions from our partners to try and improve the situation.”
The council is also taking steps to make sure it is Deaf Aware.
Cllr Bell continues: “I’m really pleased that, as a council, we’re also looking what we can do to improve our service for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
“We’ve recently been working with local Deaf and hard of hearing groups to look at our own services. As a result, we’re investigating the use of British Sign Language and text as alternative ways of communicating with us, alongside our phone and online communication. We’ve reminded our customer service staff about the need to be Deaf aware and speak clearly and a little louder.
“We’re also going to be launching Deaf customer training for all of our staff so that we really embed a culture of Deaf Awareness throughout the council.”
The survey is available from Citizens Advice North Somerset by emailing FAIR@nscab.org.uk where you can also send your experiences of Deaf Awareness in North Somerset.
More information about Deaf Awareness Week and the support that is available in North Somerset for Deaf and hard of hearing people is available on the council’s website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/daw2022.