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A guide to recruiting and supporting volunteers with hearing loss Valuing volunteers with hearing loss.

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1 A guide to recruiting and supporting volunteers with hearing loss Valuing volunteers with hearing loss

2 Inside this guide One in six people in the UK has a hearing loss - that’s a large pool of potential volunteers. Yet, without meaning to, many organisations present barriers that prevent people with hearing loss from volunteering. Action on Hearing Loss wants to change this. We have produced this guide to: raise your awareness of the things that may prevent people with hearing loss from volunteering with your organisation help you to remove any communication barriers and increase deaf awareness within your organisation, to make it more accessible and welcoming for volunteers with hearing loss. You will find this guide useful if you: are unsure how to recruit and support volunteers with hearing loss need more information on communicating, and working, with people who have hearing loss would like to increase the diversity of your organisation (see below right). We use the term ‘people with hearing loss’ throughout to refer to people with all levels of hearing loss (see page 5), including those who are profoundly deaf. We can support you to recruit volunteers with hearing loss by: meeting with you to discuss your work and how you might better support volunteers with hearing loss helping you to access training for you, your staff and volunteers giving extra support to volunteers with hearing loss, and those who work with people with hearing loss in the community helping you to book communication support for your volunteers, where necessary providing ongoing support and advice. For contact details of Action on Hearing Loss and other relevant organisations, see page 14. Increase the diversity of your volunteers Many of the communication tips we provide in this guide can help you to recruit and retain volunteers from a range of religious, cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds, different lifestyles, and those who may have medical illnesses or disabilities. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss2

3 Contents Frequently asked questions4 Understanding different levels of hearing loss5 Improving communication6 Recruiting volunteers7 Welcoming volunteers8 Interviewing volunteers9 Preparing volunteer information packs and guidelines10 Planning a volunteer training day11 Supporting volunteers in the workplace12 Booking and using communication support13 Useful contacts and resources14 Questionnaire15 Valuing volunteers with hearing loss3

4 Frequently asked questions People with hearing loss represent a talented and skilled pool of potential volunteers. What’s stopping you from recruiting from this untapped source? We’ve never had volunteers with hearing loss approach us before. Are you sure they are out there? Since one in six of the population has a hearing loss, you have probably worked with a volunteer with a hearing loss before without knowing it. People do not always reveal their hearing loss. What might prevent people with hearing loss volunteering with us? Many things, including poor communication, not using plain English (see page 10) and a lack of flexibility in volunteer roles. Other barriers include a lack of equipment to support people with hearing loss, such as: textphones - people who have severe or profound hearing loss may use a textphone instead of a voice telephone. hearing loop systems - these help people who wear hearing aids with an activated ‘loop’ setting to hear more clearly over background noise. These barriers often occur unintentionally, due to organisations not fully understanding different types of hearing loss and how they affect people - that is, they are not deaf aware (see page 5). We can provide you with training, support and equipment to help your organisation become deaf aware. Contact our Information Line for details (see page 14). Will we have to make a lot of changes to bring in volunteers who are deaf and hard of hearing? No. Volunteers with hearing loss can carry out the roles you already recruit for. You just need to make the role accessible - for example, by providing communication support if necessary. How will we communicate with our volunteers who have hearing loss? Most people with hearing loss use speech - some may lipread. See page 6 for our tips for improving your communication skills. Around 50,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language (BSL). For volunteers who use BSL, you will need an interpreter to communicate effectively at meetings and training days. Other volunteers may need other forms of communication support. See page 13 for more information. If someone doesn’t reveal their hearing loss, how will I know that they have one? The chances are, you won’t be able to tell that a person has a hearing loss, unless they wear hearing aids or use BSL. That’s why you should make sure that you always communicate clearly. If anyone asks you to repeat something, or does not understand you the first time, bear this in mind and be patient and clear. What happens if a problem arises after I recruit a volunteer with hearing loss? The Action on Hearing Loss Volunteer Development Team and your local Volunteer Centre can help you resolve any problems. For details of your nearest Volunteer Centre, contact Volunteering England. See page 14 for details. We want to recruit volunteers with hearing loss. What do we do next? Get in touch! We can help you to recruit volunteers and will support you through the process. We may even be able to advertise your opportunity through our communications and services. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss4

5 Understanding different levels of hearing loss Being aware of the different levels of hearing loss, and how they can affect communication, will help you to better support volunteers with hearing loss. Hearing loss can be categorised as: Mild : people with mild hearing loss will have some difficulty following speech, especially in noisy environments. Some wear hearing aids and find lipreading useful. They will nearly always use speech to communicate. Moderate : people with moderate hearing loss will find it difficult to follow speech, especially in noisy environments. They will probably lipread and/or wear hearing aids. Most can use a voice telephone if it has adjustable volume or is designed to work with hearing aids. Severe : people with severe hearing loss may have difficulty following speech, even with hearing aids. Many will lipread or use BSL. They may use sign language interpreters, speech-to-text reporters or lipspeakers (see page 13). Most find it hard to use a voice telephone, even if it is amplified, and may use a textphone instead. Profound : people with a profound hearing loss may get little or no benefit from hearing aids. If they have been deaf since birth or childhood, they may use BSL or lipread. They probably cannot use a voice telephone and prefer a textphone instead. People who are deafblind have a combined hearing and sight loss. This means they may have difficulty with communication, access to information and mobility. About 23,000 people in the UK are deafblind. How we can help: We can book you and your staff onto an Action on Hearing Loss ‘Deaf Awareness Training Session’ to increase your understanding of hearing loss. Contact our Information Line for details (see page 14). Valuing volunteers with hearing loss5

6 Improving communication With a little practice, everyone can learn to communicate more effectively. The two most important points to bear in mind are that your voice needs to be clearly heard and your lips must be clearly seen. You also need to: Speak... clearly at a steady pace, not too slowly at your normal volume. Keep your lips... visible - never turn your face away, or chew sweets, pens or fingers while talking in the light (remember that standing in front of a window throws your face into shadow). Keep your lipreader... on the same level as you about 3ft-6ft away aware when you are about to speak (get their attention first). Keep the room... free of background noise (voices, hums, or passing traffic) free of distractions (patterned backgrounds, mirrors or moving people). Remember, lipreading is difficult Sounds such as ‘B’, ‘P’ and ‘M’, or ‘Ch’, ‘Sh’ and ‘J’ are very hard to see on the lips (try with a friend or watch yourself in the mirror). Lipreading requires a great deal of concentration so can be quite tiring. Someone who is relying on lipreading in an interview, or training session, will need more breaks because of this. You can find more lipreading tips in our leaflet Watch this Face. To order, contact our Information Line (see page 14) or visit How we can help: We can provide a short training session for you and your staff on how to communicate with people with hearing loss. Contact our Information Line for details (see page 14). Valuing volunteers with hearing loss6

7 Recruiting volunteers There are six simple steps you can take to make sure that your advertisements are inclusive to people with hearing loss. 1 Use plain English (see page 10). Remember, English is a second language for people who have grown up using BSL. 2 Give a fax, textphone number or email address, not just a telephone number. If you don’t have a textphone, you can still offer a textphone number by using the Text Relay telephone prefix (18001) in front of your telephone number. This shows textphone users that you welcome calls through Text Relay, which is the national service connecting telephone users with textphone users. A person called a Relay Assistant will join the call to relay text-to-voice and voice-to-text in the conversation. Find out how Text Relay works first by visiting 3 Make your wording inclusive, not exclusive. ‘Good telephone manner’ could discourage a person with a hearing loss from applying for the role, and it might not be necessary. 4 Include an equal opportunities statement. For example: ‘We strongly encourage applications from black and minority ethnic people, deaf and disabled people, and all members of the wider community.’ 5 Send posters and flyers to your local deaf or hard of hearing clubs. Contact our Information Line for details (see page 14). 6 Advertise in national or local publications aimed at people with hearing loss. Contact our Information Line for details. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss7

8 Welcoming volunteers A warm welcome into your project is an important way of making sure that, once you have recruited your volunteers, you keep them. Naturally, all volunteers will feel much more welcomed and encouraged if you: smile are polite speak clearly show a pleasant sense of humour have plenty of time for them are friendly. First impressions If volunteers do not feel welcome, they are unlikely to stay. So, for example, people will not feel encouraged to volunteer for you if you: do not smile look uncomfortable talking spend as little time as possible with them seem unfriendly are impatient avoid talking to them. Look at the two lists above again. Imagine a volunteer who is deaf approaches a volunteer co-ordinator who had never met a person who is deaf before. Suppose that volunteer co-ordinator immediately began to worry about what to do. Which of those lists is likely to best describe their behaviour? Sometimes people panic when they realise the person in front of them has a hearing loss. Because they panic, they forget to be friendly and smile. Sometimes they pretend they haven’t seen the person and ignore them, hoping someone else will take over. At other times, people are rude because they get fed up with repeating what they are saying and become impatient. People do not usually do these things because they mean to be unwelcoming - it is mostly due to a lack of deaf awareness, and comes from feeling uncomfortable. The tips in this guide will help you to become more deaf aware and welcoming to all of your volunteers. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss8

9 Interviewing volunteers A little preparation will make sure that you and your potential volunteers get the most out of an interview. Before the interview When you invite a volunteer to an interview, or to meet you for the first time, always ask if they have any accessibility needs, such as communication support. Remember that demand for communication support professionals is extremely high, so you will need to book early (see page 13). A person with a hearing loss might ask if you have a hearing loop system. We can help supply loop systems or put you in touch with local services that can do this for you. Contact our Information Line for details (see page 14). On the day Make sure the room is well lit to make lipreading possible and that your hearing loop, if you have one, is switched on. Set up the room so that the volunteer will not be facing a window, as this will put the person they are lipreading in shadow. When the volunteer arrives, ask if the room is arranged appropriately for them. During the interview Speak clearly and naturally, and give the volunteer time to get used to your lipshapes. Find out about your volunteer, what their skills and interests are, and how they can help you, as you would with any other volunteer. Focus on the person’s abilities, not on their hearing loss. Never assume what a volunteer is or is not able to do. Once you have decided which role suits your volunteer, think about practicalities. Ask them what they need to make the role accessible for them. Be prepared to be flexible and honest. If you are worried that you cannot fully meet their needs, ask the Action on Hearing Loss Volunteer Development Team (see page 14) for advice, or see if you can reach a good compromise. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss9

10 Preparing volunteer information packs and guidelines The best way to make sure that your information is accessible to all is by writing in plain English. The Plain English Campaign defines plain English as ‘something the intended audience can read, understand and act upon the first time they read it’. If recruited volunteers are not fully able to read your written information, they may: not fully understand the project, its value or their role in it be unaware of health and safety guidelines become confused with the project and not be able to carry out all the tasks you expect of them. To avoid these problems, and to make sure you always get your message across, think carefully about the language you use, and how you design your posters, information sheets and guidelines. Be clear When producing written information for volunteers: keep sentences and paragraphs short always substitute long words for short words where possible. For example, say ‘use’, not ‘utilise’, and ‘buy’, not ‘purchase’ avoid jargon break up the writing with headings and bullet points think about using clear diagrams to replace long, written descriptions use photographs to illustrate your points - these can be especially effective if they use real people and not models consider passing on the most important information face-to-face instead. For more information, see our free factsheet Producing information for people with hearing loss. You can order it from our Information Line (see page 14) or download it from www. Quick plain English checklist c Do you use straightforward, everyday English? c Have you used ‘we’, ‘you’ and ‘my’? c Have you used ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ sentences? c Could you cut any text to make your document more concise? c Is your average sentence 15-20 words long? c Is complex information in bulleted lists? c Can you use pictures/symbols to increase clarity? Have you used a clear format? c Is there a good contrast between the text and background? c Is there plenty of white space around paragraphs? Is the text all justified left? c Have you included sub-headings to break up the text? Valuing volunteers with hearing loss10

11 Planning a volunteer training day If you have a training day for volunteers, be aware of anyone in your audience who may have a hearing loss. Use the following tips to make sure your audience can understand you. Before the day Ask your audience before the day of training if they need any communication support and which type they require. Plan plenty of breaks in your agenda. It is hard work for someone to lipread for long stretches of time. Also, sign language interpreters and other communication support staff will need breaks every 30-40 minutes. Prepare handouts and overheads, written in plain English, to back up your key messages and send these out in advance. It can be hard for people with hearing loss to pick up all the messages delivered during training. The training room Set up the training room carefully. If anyone in your audience is lipreading, they will need: good lighting - make sure that the main speakers are not standing in front of windows a clear view of the speakers’ faces - reserve some chairs at the front minimal background noise a working hearing loop system, if you have one. Clear communication Begin your session by making sure people with hearing loss can hear you or see the sign language interpreter, lipspeaker or speech-to- text reporter. Check at regular intervals. Remind everyone to speak clearly, and one at a time, giving everyone a chance to join in. Remember that an interpreter cannot interpret two voices at once! Use clear speech at all times. Try not to walk around too much, as this makes it more difficult to lipread. Remember that, while people with hearing loss are reading your handouts and overheads, they cannot lipread or watch an interpreter. Give people time to read the overhead or handout, and to look at you before you start talking again. If you receive a question from the floor during the day, repeat it back to the audience before replying. Some people may not have heard the question (including hearing people). This also gives you time to compose your reply! Finally, don’t be embarrassed if someone says they can’t hear you. Be glad they felt comfortable enough to say so. As long as you keep calm, and keep trying, you will get there in the end. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss11

12 Supporting volunteers in the workplace These simple steps will help volunteers with hearing loss quickly settle into your organisation Make sure that: your volunteers have fully understood all information provided during training communication professionals are present at any important induction or training sessions for those volunteers who need them. Action on Hearing Loss Communication Services (see page 14) can help set this up you provide a written programme, in plain English, of what will happen in the first few volunteering sessions you stagger information/training, if you can, so that your volunteer is not bombarded with too much information you check after the first day/week/month that everything is going well you think about providing a volunteer ‘buddy’, or appointing a key member of staff with whom the volunteer can raise any questions your volunteer knows who they can ask for help if they are having any problems. Consider your volunteer’s work environment Is there good lighting so that they can lipread easily? Will they be able to see the rest of the room, and people coming and going? You can help your volunteer to become part of the team more quickly by asking them to sit somewhere central facing other people. Do your other volunteers need to learn about hearing loss? If so, talk to the Action on Hearing Loss Volunteer Development Team about this (see page 14). Check that emergency procedures are written in plain English (see page 10). Make sure your Fire Officer is aware of any volunteers who have a hearing loss, so they can put appropriate evacuation procedures in place. Specialist equipment can help (such as vibrating fire alarm pagers). Contact our Information Line for more information (see page 14). How we can help: The Action on Hearing Loss Volunteer Development Team provides you with ongoing advice and support. See page 14 for contact details. Valuing volunteers with hearing loss12

13 Booking and using communication support People with hearing loss have a range of different communication methods depending on their hearing loss and personal preference. A communication professional (CP) can make communication far easier for important interviews or meetings. If you need to use a CP, contact Action on Hearing Loss Communication Services (see page 14). Action on Hearing Loss Communication Services can provide: sign language interpreters, who are trained to interpret between spoken English and BSL. lipspeakers, who repeat what is being said without using their voice. Lipspeakers are trained to have clear lipshapes, and use facial expression and natural gestures to clarify the message. They also use appropriate fingerspelling, if needed. electronic notetakers, who type the spoken message into a special computer, allowing the person with hearing loss to read it from a screen. Sign language interpreterLipspeaker Things to remember when using CPs Always speak directly to the person with hearing loss, not to the CP. Make sure that only one person speaks at a time, otherwise it is impossible for the CP to interpret. The CP is always neutral. They are not allowed to give advice or offer opinions. CPs work within a strict professional code of practice. Everything that is discussed will be kept confidential. The CP will communicate everything that is said or signed. This includes audible asides. CPs need preparation time and background materials if they are to do a good job. There is usually a slight delay in the interpreting process. CPs need to have short breaks every 30-40 minutes. Speech-to-text reporter Valuing volunteers with hearing loss13

14 Useful contacts and resources Action on Hearing Loss is working for a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people, where tinnitus is silenced - and where people value and look after their hearing. Action on Hearing Loss Volunteering Development Team For any queries relating to volunteering for Action on Hearing Loss, contact: Action on Hearing Loss Volunteering Development Team, Towerpoint, 44 North Road, 4th Floor, Room 409, Brighton BN1 1YR From 16 July 2013 our address will be: Action on Hearing Loss Volunteering Development Team Room 106a, Community Base 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG Telephone 01273 669468 Textphone 18001 01273 669468 Action on Hearing Loss Information Line Our Information Line offers a wide range of information on hearing loss and tinnitus. Action on Hearing Loss Information Line, 19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL Telephone 0808 808 0123 Textphone 0808 808 9000 Fax 020 7296 8199 SMS 0780 000 0360 Action on Hearing Loss Communication Services To book sign language interpreters and other communication professionals, contact: Action on Hearing Loss Communication Services, The Plaza, 100 Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9QJ Telephone 0845 685 8000 Textphone 0845 685 8001 Fax 0845 685 8002 SMS 07624 818778 www.actiononhearingloss/communication Action on Hearing Loss Products We sell a wide range of products for people with hearing loss and/or tinnitus. Visit our online shop or request a copy of our products catalogue. Action on Hearing Loss Products, 1 Haddonbrook Business Centre, Fallodan Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YX Telephone 01733 361199 Textphone 01733 238020 Fax 01733 361161 Text Relay helpline The BT-funded service through which calls can be made between textphone and voice phone users, in either direction. Telephone 0870 7311 888 Textphone 18001 0800 500 888 Plain English Campaign Provides advice and information on plain English. PO Box 3, New Mills, High Peak SK22 4QP Telephone 01663 744409 Fax 01663 747038 Volunteering England Provides support and volunteering resources. Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL Valuing volunteers with hearing loss14

15 Questionnaire We want to make sure this pack is accessible, and contains all the information you need. We will be updating it regularly. Please return your feedback to the address below. Name Organisation Your role VeryQuiteNot at all Did you find this pack clear and easy to read? Did you find the following sections useful: Frequently asked questions Understanding different levels of hearing loss Improving communication Recruiting volunteers Welcoming volunteers Interviewing volunteers Preparing volunteer information packs and guidelines Planning a volunteer training day Supporting volunteers in the workplace Booking and using communication support Do you currently have any volunteers who have a hearing loss?Yes / No If yes, do you think this pack will help you support them?Yes / No If not, do you hope to recruit some after reading this pack?Yes / No Is there any further information you would have found helpful? Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. Your feedback is valuable to us. Please return to: Action on Hearing Loss Volunteering Team, Towerpoint, 44 North Road, 4th Floor, Room 409, Brighton BN1 1YR or from 16 July 2013 to: Action on Hearing Loss Volunteering Team, Room 106a, Community Base, 113 Queen’s Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

16 We’re the charity taking action on hearing loss since 1911. We can’t do this without your help. To find out more about what we do and how you can support us go to Telephone 0808 808 0123 Textphone 0808 808 9000 Email Action on Hearing Loss is the trading name of The Royal National Institute for Deaf People. A registered charity in England and Wales (207720) and Scotland (SC038926). A0585/0513

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