International Week of the Deaf takes place around the world in the last week of September every year. This week is a reason to celebrate the contribution of deaf people to their communities. Moreover, the week also raises awareness about the rights of people who are deaf.
Many people around the world may not have family members, friends, or colleagues who are deaf. As a result, they may assume that someone who is deaf cannot do every-day things, such as work, raise families, make friends and have fulfilling social lives.
Furthermore, people may feel uncomfortable when someone discloses that they are deaf. This lack of knowledge may lead to discrimination. For instance, someone may not want to hire a person who is deaf. International Week of the Deaf is a chance to help the public learn more about the ways people who are deaf contribute actively to their families, communities, and workplaces. Moreover, the week raises awareness about the human rights that people who are deaf have, and how these rights support their access to information and communication.
The word deaf is used to describe or identify anyone who has a severe hearing problem. Sometimes it is used to refer to people who are severely hard of hearing too. We use Deaf with a capital D to refer to people who have been deaf all their lives, or since before they started to learn to talk. They are pre-lingually deaf. It is an important distinction, because Deaf people tend to communicate in sign language as their first language. For most Deaf people English is a second language, and understanding complicated messages in English can be a problem.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 5% of the world’s population has ‘disabling’ hearing loss, which requires rehabilitation, support and/or advocacy. Additionally, more than 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. It is estimated that more than 700 million people – or 1/10 people – will have disabling hearing loss by 2050.
When unaddressed, hearing loss can impact individuals in various ways, including their communication and speech, cognition, education and employment opportunities, social isolation, and mental health.
To support those with hearing loss around the world, you can take action into your own hands. Here are a few things you can do during Deaf Awareness Month
What you can do during Deaf Awareness Month:
- Learn sign language
- Share stories from deaf creators
- Support deaf businesses
- Learn about d/Deaf culture
- Join a d/Deaf group
- Advocate deaf accessibility at work and in your community
- Giving job opportunities to d/Deaf people or people with hearing disabilities
- Providing hearing aid accommodation at workplaces
- Volunteer at non-profits, civil liberties groups, or schools for the Deaf
We at Accessible Jobs commemorate people with hearing barriers in our society. Providing job opportunities for job seekers with different disabilities is worth trying and we are here to help you in this experience.