Deaf Awareness by Ruthy Fletcher
There will be an increase of hearing loss over the next three years which will lead to over 15 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK.
Currently very few hotels are able to fully accommodate their deaf and hard of hearing guests.
I am a Qualified Teacher Deaf Awareness, teaching deaf awareness to hotel staff members. My aim is to educate hoteliers in providing appropriate access and a safe environment for their guests whom have a hearing loss. Throughout the training, I teach basic signs, which are fitting for a hotel establishment, enabling staff to communicate effectively and confidently with their deaf guests. The health and safety aspects that surround a person with a hearing loss are very rarely discussed but with a little foresight and assistance these can be resolved. I demonstrate equipment that is available to assist with resolving these issues. There are a range of methods in which people can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people; I explain the different types of deafness, along with the appropriate communication method for each type of hearing loss.
I made a decision to teach Deaf Awareness training, to hoteliers, due to an experience that I had previously encountered. I was staying in a hotel when unbeknown to me there was a fire alarm. I was not alerted to the fire and was the only person left in the building, unaware of what was happening. After discussing this with deaf friends, I was astounded as to how many of them had similar experiences. I have unfortunately experienced this 3 times in different hotels around the UK.
Many hotels have Disabilities Awareness training which covers all disabilities and some including deafness which is fine but these courses tend to focus on the following:-
- Wheelchair Users
- Mobility Issues
- Blind/Visually Impaired
Most people with these disabilities are able to hear but what about deaf people who can’t hear the fire alarm or knocks on the door?
- Some Hoteliers already offer vibrating pad under pillow, but do fire always happen when everyone is in bed?
- What if the deaf guest is sitting down, watch TV, or in bath – will they be able to see/feel the vibration under the pillow?
- Room service / any member of staff / anyone knock on the door – how will a deaf person hear?
- Wake Up call – how will a deaf person hear?
My courses focus more on deafness and gives more in-depth information, plus they will learn some basic sign language relevant to Hotels and their jobs as well.
I was very honoured to be awarded runner-up in the Deaf Business Academy awards last July. This was recognition for the work I do for the deaf community to ensure safety in all hotels.
I started the business almost five years ago, after noticing a gap in the market following a visit to a hotel.
A lot of people don’t know how to help or communicate with deaf people and I educates people on how to communicate with them, not just through sign language but in a lot of different ways, rather than people just freaking out and walking away.
I want to work with hotels to improve things such as the PEEP Forms for Disabled guests. I know that this is standard policy to ask all disabled people to complete these forms but these tend to confuse a deaf / hard of hearing person due the high level of English they are written in. PEEP forms are obviously written in English but for many deaf people, this isn’t there first language. I can support the hotels with making these more accessible and more “deaf friendly”.
Below a list of hotels I have run the training for over the last 2 years:
- Arora Hotel Manchester
- Castlefield Hotel Manchester
- Grand Hotel Brighton
- Maids Head Hotel Norwich
- Malmasion Dundee
- Nanetoes Mansion Aberystwyth
- The Midland Hotel Bradford
- Donnington Valley Newbury (The Vineyards - forum)
- Whittlebury Hall Hotel Milton Keynes
- Royal George Hotel, Millport
- UKHA Manchester & Glasgow
I have received excellent testimonials /feedback – please feel free to browse through my website www.supportthedeafpeople.co.uk Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further information.