Deaf Awareness Week 2023

Deaf Awareness Week 2023
2 May 2023
For Deaf Awareness Week 2023 we spoke to two of our members about how hearing loss and being deaf affects their roles in the laboratory

Nikki McDermott

How can preserve our hearing?

We can preserve our hearing by not playing music loudly through headphones, having regular hearing checks (this is so that any hearing lost can be treated before it becomes a real issue) and having time in quiet areas (this is especially useful when working in a noisy environment such as a laboratory).

Is your role in the lab impacted by being deaf?

Yes is the shortest answer. It is difficult to hear telephone calls, large meetings and certainly within the laboratory with the constant noise of the analysers

What would your advice be to colleagues who are deaf?

Make sure all colleagues are aware that you are deaf and tell them what is the easiest way to get your attention i.e. to tap you on the shoulder or be a certain side of you when they want to speak to you. It is not something to be ashamed of.


Can we prevent being deaf?

You can protect against becoming deaf by wearing hearing protection, walking away from loud machines when you are not using them and not listening to music/videos loudly on your ear/headphones. It is also important to take regular breaks.

Is your role in the laboratory impacted by being deaf?

Yes, it affects me when I am answering phone calls, especially when the lines are not clear. The machines in the laboratory are loud and sometimes it makes it difficult for me to hear when a colleague is speaking to me. During the pandemic I struggled a lot when colleagues were wearing face masks, as I couldn’t lip read and couldn’t ask them to remove their masks.

What would your advice be for colleagues who are deaf?

The best advice I can give to colleagues who are deaf is to not let this disability to stop you from achieving what you want.

Do you have any advice for people working with a deaf colleague?

When working with a deaf colleague it is important to not speak behind their back and always speak face to face so they can lip read. Don’t shout when speaking and don’t speak too fast. When speaking do not cover the mouth as deaf people don’t have the same level of hearing so they miss out on a lot of information. Try and ask if they have understood everything before leaving them with a task.

Other Resources

Read our blog with Alex Broderick from World Hearing Day 2023.

RNID -  helping people with hearing loss for more than 100 years. Key achievements include successfully lobbying the NHS to provide free hearing aids in 1948 and hearing-screening for newborn babies in 2000.

WHO - there are over 1.5 billion people with hearing loss, 12 million in the UK, it can range from hard of hearing to profoundly deaf, affecting one or both ears. Deafness is a social disability and is a spectrum, affecting communication in the majority of people, leading to social isolation and loneliness. Often deafness can be mistaken for dementia in older people, hence the need for hearing screening. Deafness comes with an increased risk of mental health issues. 

Back to news listing