Tasha Ghouri illuminates the importance of Deaf Awareness Week

This week, we got in touch with Tasha Ghouri, who through her social media presence highlights the importance of deaf awareness. Throughout this feature, Tasha reflects on the significance of Deaf Awareness Week and the pivotal role it plays in fostering understanding and inclusivity.

 

  1. What does being deaf aware mean to you?

To me it means having awareness for deaf community in terms of identity, how to communicate and being respectful towards it.

  1. What are some common misconceptions people have about the deaf community, and how do you work to dispel them?
  • There’s a lot of misconceptions such as that we cannot drive because we cannot hear, which isn’t the case. There are always ways round it and it makes us no less able.
  • Everyone with a hearing loss uses BSL- this isn’t the case! For example, I used to do BSL but then I got a cochlear implant and had to do speech therapy. Everyone’s different with their communication.
  • Hearing aids and cochlear implants are the same- many people call my cochlear implant a hearing aid when they are completely opposite things. Ultimately, to educate this is really important and something I do through my social media platforms educating the differences.
  • That we are defined by our deafness. I always say it doesn’t define me and I don’t like to be labelled “deaf” girl. It’s a part of me that’s unique and special but it isn’t me as a whole! I like to share this with people as I think it’s important to remember that.
  1. How can people be more deaf aware across social media?

 Educate yourself by following influencers/celebrities that utilise their platform for the better, because that way you will learn and adapt to being more aware on social media. Sometimes it’s easy to take the mick out of someone’s voice when you don’t know they could be deaf! So always think before you type. Spread positivity and love, kindness goes a very long way.

  1. Why do you believe it is so important to normalise deaf accents?

I received a lot of ableism about my voice and the way I spoke, even to this day it still hurts me but recently I made a TikTok video without my cochlear implant in which I was embracing my deaf accent. I think it’s beautiful and we should embrace that. I wanted to break down stigmas and the negativity and bring positivity into it as social media can be toxic. It’s so important to educate as there isn’t much of that especially in schools.

  1. How can businesses and places of work better accommodate the needs of deaf individuals to promote inclusivity?

Listen to what they need, if they need an environment that’s quiet with less background noise then accommodate that. Subtitles is a big one, always subtitle any videos as it’s important to make us feel included. If they use BSL, have a BSL interpreter there if you don’t know any BSL. Learn BSL, there’s so many resources out there now on the internet or even old school with books!

  1. What are some do’s and don’ts in relation to deaf awareness?
  • DO make sure you show your lips and face are clear as we rely on lip reading heavily.
  • DON’T move around or put back to us as we will find it extremely difficult.
  • DO reduce background noise or choose somewhere that’s not too noisy as background noises can make it very hard for us to tune in and listen to people’s voices.
  • DO write or text things down if you’re struggling, it’s okay to do this!
  • DO use gestures, using gestures to support your speech helps massively.
  • DON’T say I will tell you later or “it doesn’t matter” if you have repeated yourself. We want to be involved just as much as you do, and this makes us feel isolated.
  1. What changes do you hope to see in the future to make society more deaf aware and overall, more inclusive?

I hope schools will start teaching more about the deaf community and how to approach people with a deafness- this will help massively as school is a pivotal moment of learning.

I hope to see more representation in the entertainment industry. We are lacking voices, and we are often overlooked. I want to see more on TV, not just one box ticked and then move on! It will be nice to see it normalised to the point that we can have 5 to 10 people on a tv show rather than having to tick a “disability” box. I hope to see more positivity on social media and spread love around this topic.

Here at Signature, we would like to thank Tasha for sharing with us her perspective on the importance of Deaf Awareness Week. Tasha highlighted some of the very important do’s and don’ts in relation to deaf awareness and the ways she hopes society can be changed to maximise inclusivity and accessibility.

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