Quarter of Brits would struggle to interact with someone who is deaf | The Sun

OVER a quarter of Brits would struggle to start a conversation with someone who is deaf, new research has revealed.

Around 20 per cent said they would feel uncomfortable trying to communicate with a deaf person.

Commission by Cadbury Fingers, the poll of 1,000 adults also found that more than one in five (22 per cent) wouldn’t know where to begin when striking up a chat with someone who is deaf.

As a result, 12 per cent are embarrassed to start a conversation, and this lack of interaction has led to half of the 683 deaf people within the research feeling both isolated and frustrated.

The brand has partnered with  Love Islander Tasha Ghouri, and Strictly Come Dancing winner, Giovanni Pernice, alongside the National Deaf Children’s society to highlight the feeling of being left out of conversation experienced by four in 10 deaf people.

Tasha was born deaf and used British Sign Language (BSL) before her Cochlear implant was fitted.

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She is now using her platform, along with Giovanni, who partnered with deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis in the 2021 series, to highlight feelings of exclusion in the deaf community.

Tasha Ghouri said: “The UK has a large deaf population that often miss out on moments because of their disability.

"It was important to me to use BSL to reveal that I’ve found my dream house to move into with Andrew because as someone who is deaf, there are times when I’ve felt isolated.

“I hope that by demonstrating how it feels to miss out on exciting news, small talk and conversation, that I am inspiring others to learn the beautiful language of BSL so everyone can feel more included.”

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The study also found only 18 per cent feel completely comfortable engaging in conversation with someone who is deaf.

And one in 10 (12 per cent) avoid talking to someone who is deaf entirely.    

Yet there is some good news, as 39 per cent of those who can hear are interested in learning more about BSL if they had the tools to do so.

With key motivators for wanting to including a desire for others to feel included (54 per cent), an interest in learning a new language (47 per cent) and seeking meaningful connections (29 per cent) with other people.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found Tasha showcasing her ‘superpower’ on the ITV show inspired one in 10 (12 per cent) Brits to think about their perceptions of deaf people.

And 23 per cent cite Strictly Come Dancing winner, Rose, as an inspirational figure who has changed their perceptions of what it means to be deaf.

It also emerged 76 per cent of those polled had never heard of ‘Dinner Table Syndrome’, the phenomenon in which deaf people are perpetually left out of conversations.

To help the nation connect and learn a little sign language, the Cadbury Fingers Hub provides conversation topics to get going – from “fancy a cuppa?” through to “typical British weather isn’t it?” and “what a goal!”

Susanne Nowak, from Cadbury Fingers, added: “Whilst BSL is only one way of communicating, we want to encourage the nation to take their first step in learning this beautiful language – helping break down the barriers between hearing and deaf people and facilitate more shared moments of connection.”

Susan Daniels OBE, chief executive at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said, “We’re not surprised to see that many deaf people say they have felt frustrated and isolated after being left out of a conversation.

"As a deaf person, it happens to me on occasion, so I know how vital it is that that we work together to eradicate the barriers deaf children and young people face.

“This campaign gives people the opportunity to consider some of the challenges faced by deaf people, learn some simple signs and pick up deaf awareness tips.

"Deaf children and young people deserve to be part of the conversation as much as anyone else – so let’s all do our bit to help make it happen.”

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