How to get started with sign­ing

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS -

Hear­ing loss can af­fect ev­ery­thing from your re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily and friends to a sim­ple trip to the su­per­mar­ket. The good news is that sim­ple tips and signs can really help aid com­mu­ni­ca­tion and make a big dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives.


With al­most 70,000 hear­ing-im­paired peo­ple in the UK us­ing Bri­tish Sign Lan­guage (BSL), it is some­thing we can all ben­e­fit from learn­ing more about.

But re­mem­ber, learn­ing to sign is like learn­ing a for­eign lan­guage – some peo­ple will pick it up more quickly than oth­ers, and it can take years to be­come flu­ent.


BSL has its own syn­tax and gram­mar, and dif­fers from other recorded ver­sions of sign­ing — for ex­am­ple, from Amer­i­can

Sign Lan­guage (ASL).

Even while you are learn­ing to sign, there are some sim­ple tricks that can help you hugely when you meet a hearingim­paired per­son.

First, en­sure you’re in a quiet space, and away from any TV, ra­dio or other back­ground noise. Make sure you smile and keep eye con­tact, and be care­ful not to cover your mouth. Use your hands to help you point, ges­ture and ex­plain things, and also use a pen and paper – or even a voice-recog­ni­tion app on your phone – to help you com­mu­ni­cate.

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