Northamptonshire charity Deafconnect has produced guidance on how to offer remote accessibility for D/deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people effectively during the pandemic.
First point of contact is important - a hearing impaired person should not experience delays because they can’t make a phone call.
“Ring this landline number” - the most common and often only method of contact. That is not an option for many D/deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people who can’t hear a telephone conversation.
- Provide a dedicated mobile number so that they can text, and have somebody responsible for monitoring and replying with the same urgency as a telephone call.
- Consider using https://www.relayuk.bt.com/ - phone calls using an operator to relay the conversation.
- For clients that use BSL, consider using https://interpreternow.co.uk/ - instant online access to qualified interpreters (used by NHS 111).
- “Email us/fill in online form/visit website for options” - some people can access and cope with technology, others can’t, so any alternative communication option needs to be obvious and easy to access, simple to use and treated with the same urgency as a telephone call. Consider providing a dedicated email address that is responded to with the same urgency as a telephone call.
- Zoom (paid-for version) and Skype have closed caption facilities, so someone struggling to lipread can see the captions if needed.
- Have an online chat facility.
- Consider using WhatsApp messaging.
If remote contact changes to face to face meetings, consider booking a BSL interpreter, lipspeaker, speech to text reporter, notetaker or deafblind interpreter. Contact Deafconnect if you need help booking someone or you want more information.
Office telephone – 01604 589011
Mobile – 07817 006817
Find out more about communicating better with people with hearing loss
COVID-19 poses a unique challenge for health and social care professionals when talking to someone with hearing loss. Here are some important tips from Healthwatch England to help you communicate effectively.