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What are the best ways to communicate with a deaf person? Blogger offers top tips

PUBLISHED: 15:44 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:44 19 May 2018

Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.

Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.

Deafie Blogger

Imagine a world living without being able to hear, whether it is someone speaking to you or your favourite music.

Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.

It is a reality many deaf people face every single day – but now, one Norfolk blogger is trying to break the stigma around hearing conditions with a blog about the realities of living with deafness.

Ellen Parfitt, a marketer from Wreningham, is profoundly deaf and communicates with speech and lipreading.

The 21-year-old deaf activist writes for Phonak’s Hearing Like Me community blog, the British Deaf News, and her own website Deafieblogger.com.

She said: “One of the aims of my personal blog is to reach out to young deaf people who may be struggling to accept their disability or hearing loss, or parents of recently diagnosed deaf children who may be worried about their child’s future, and to inspire them all that they can achieve.

Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.

“My motto is that deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support.”

For national Deaf Awareness Week, Miss Parfitt has given some of her top tips for communicating with deaf people.

She said: “Get their attention before speaking, and ask them how they would like to communicate.

“If you’re talking, speak normally and clearly, and if they ask you to repeat, please do.”

Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.Ellen Parfitt is a deaf blogger from Norfolk. PHOTO: Deafie Blogger.

Miss Parfitt is currently campaigning for more subtitled cinema showings with a petition currently signed by more than 4,000 people, as well as engaging in talks with Odeon.

She is also on the committee for this year’s Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival on July 13, an event held at The Forum in Norwich.

The festival will offer the opportunity to find out about local services, try out British Sign Langauge and lipreading, watch a signing choir performance, enter a summer art competition, and try craft sessions led by deaf students.

Miss Parfitt said: “My long term goal is to set up a community website for young deaf people in Norfolk and to organise events to bring them together.”

Deaf Awareness Week 2018 is run by the UK Council on Deafness from May 14-20.

Visit Ellen’s blog at www.deafieblogger.com or for more information about Deaf Awareness Week visit http://deafcouncil.org.uk/deaf-awareness-week



Ellen’s Top 10 Tips for communication with deaf people:

1. Get their attention before speaking.

2. Face them when speaking to them.

3. Ask them how they would like to communicate.

4. If you’re talking, speak normally and clearly.

5. Please don’t shout, it can be uncomfortable.

6. Try not to cover mouth or look away when speaking.

7. If they ask you to repeat, please do!

8. Be patient! Communication is a two way process. We’re willing to make it work if you do!

9. Why not learn some British Sign Language? Start off with finger spelling the alphabet! There’s some signing groups around Norwich, why not come along!

10. Don’t forget to smile! We’ll smile back!

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