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Deaf health worker breaks barriers for those with hearing loss

Deaf health worker breaks barriers for those with hearing loss

A health worker who helps people with hearing loss despite being Deaf herself, is offering advice on how to support people with hearing loss during Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May).

Kayley Bone, who has had permanent hearing loss since childhood, is wife to a Deaf husband and a mother to a Deaf child, and despite her own challenges, chose a career in audiology to help others overcome the challenges of hearing loss.

Working in audiology at Basildon Hospital, part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, she finds it fulfilling to help patients, some of whom are colleagues, to rediscover their sense of hearing again.

Kayley said: “There is a lot of negative stigma and insensitivity towards people with hearing loss and my patients tell me that they appreciate having my perspective, and that it helps me empathise.

“Audiology is the ideal department for me as it is quiet, the whole team communicates well, and they are already Deaf aware. It would be amazing if more of our society were Deaf aware.”

Advocating for Deaf awareness, she shared some tips to make a conversation easy with someone with hearing loss:

  • Get their attention: get the attention of the person by calling their name before talking to them. They may be concentrating on listening to something else and may not be aware you are talking to them.
  • Speak clearly, avoid shouting or over-exaggerating lip movements. Facing the person and not cover your mouth helps them understand better.
  • Be direct but sensitive: always ask the person how they want to be identified and how they prefer to communicate. Be direct and ask the necessary questions but ask them sensitively.
  • Ask them to repeat: If you’re not sure if a person has understood you, ask them to repeat what you said.
  • Rephrase: if you are asked to repeat yourself, try rephrasing and saying it in a different way.
  • Write it down: written information and documents can be helpful when you have hearing loss, as spoken information is difficult to retain.

Hearing loss currently affects one in five people, and it is expected to rise further over the next decade. More information about hearing loss and the audiology services at our hospitals is available on the Trust website.

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