‘Denby makes my disability visible’ – Deaf Letchworth woman backs awareness campaign
A woman who has been deaf since birth is backing a campaign aimed at raising deaf awareness in schoolchildren across Herts.
The woman, who lives in Letchworth but has asked to remain anonymous, struggled to communicate and lacked confidence following an injury at birth which left her deaf due to a shortness of oxygen.
Last year, she was partnered with specially-trained hearing dog Denby by national charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
The black Labrador is trained to alert her to important sounds such as the doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm.
She said: “Deafness is a hidden disability, but Denby makes it visible. Having him has given me a lot more confidence.
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“To know that Denby will wake me at night in the event of an emergency is very reassuring if I’m in the house on my own.”
She is supporting a national campaign – Let’s Hear It – run by the hearing dogs charity, which is seeking to raise deaf awareness in children of school age.
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She said: “I used to be a teacher myself, so I am passionate about the importance of education.
“This campaign is so vital in raising deaf awareness in schools across Herts and beyond.
“Deaf awareness is all about learning how to communicate with deaf people, such as knowing to allow more time, and being patient.
“People often think they need to speak louder or exaggerate their words when talking with a deaf person, but this is not the case; remember lip readers have learnt to lip read people speaking naturally.”
Lisa Bishop, the charity’s community fundraising manager for the Home Counties, said: “Let’s Hear It is an important campaign to raise awareness of deafness in schools. As well as a new sign language video with TV presenter Angellica Bell, we also offer free downloadable resource packs for teachers and parents on our website, which include deaf awareness activities, sign language tutorials and an art and design competition.”
Visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk/letshearit to find out more.