This year Deaf Awareness Week runs from the 4th to 10th May, and now more than ever greater deaf awareness is imperative while our country lives through such uncertain and difficult times, and people living with deafness are at an even greater risk of isolation.

Deafness is often hidden and can have a devastating impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. The underlying barriers faced include communication, access to information and a lack of deaf awareness in wider society. This leads to an increased risk of social isolation and an associated risk of developing poor mental health as deaf people are twice as likely to experience poor mental health compared to hearing people.

Now consider the impact of the Coronavirus on these communities when the majority are older people with acquired hearing loss and other potential health needs. So they may have to self-isolate for up to 12 weeks and, at best, practice social distancing. This is a group of extremely vulnerable people who may not easily be able to use the telephone, tune into the radio or TV or readily engage with technology to stay in touch with their friends and family. We already know that people are experiencing feelings of loneliness and despair.

Small gestures that everyone can make to be more deaf aware, will mean the difference between a deaf person being involved in the conversation or living a life of isolation.

During the week, we'll be sharing simple tips on how you can be more deaf aware, so please do follow along on the GDA social media pages, as well as here to find out how you can be part of a change in society that offers a more considerate approach to deafness.

Charities stand to take a massive hit due to the Coronavirus. Over £4 billion of vital funding that helps charities keep providing invaluable support to millions of people, will be lost as a result of the COVID-19 shut down, and sadly GDA is no exception.

For over 100 years GDA has been providing support to Gloucestershire's deaf and hard of hearing people and we sure aren't going to let COVID-19 beat us now.

We appreciate this is a tough time for many, but please, if you can, please make a donation to help ensure GDA can continue to be there for the people who need us now more than ever. Together we can build a society where no child, young person or adult living with deafness, feels isolated, alone or scared.

Donate to GDA today here.