The session was very informative and it was interesting learning about the different levels of hearing loss and the barriers that exist in terms of communication between deaf and hard of hearing people, and people who can hear.
Access Ambassadors themselves are a deaf-led organisation based within Milton Keynes, who are working towards creating inclusive services, employment and environments for deaf and hard of hearing people. They also provide interpreting support for people who need it, as well as those who are going through the job application process and in doing so, are helping people who are deaf or hard of hearing into employment. Access Ambassadors also support local groups such as MK Deaf Zone and the Hard of Hearing Support Group.
During the session we learned about the ‘Speech Banana’, which shows a range of speech sounds that people with different degrees of hearing loss would find hard to hear. We were also taught the most common causes of hearing loss and factors that can act as barriers to effective communication. It was interesting learning about how the other ways that we communicate, for instance body movements and facial gestures, can send messages that we aren’t even aware about.
The session was interactive and fun, with activities that helped us to understand how difficult lip reading was, as well as ones that made us think about our ability to be able to describe things effectively and clearly.
Access Ambassadors offer training for businesses as well as the community sector, to help companies better understand how they can be more inclusive for deaf and hard of hearing people; as well as taster sessions in British Sign Language (BSL) for people who would like to try it out for the first time.