Ruffley highlights Deaf Awareness Week and arranges Typetalk training for his staff

Wednesday, 26 April, 2006

David Ruffley MP, a patron of the Suffolk Deaf Association, has today highlighted Deaf Awareness Week, which begins on 1 May 2006, and called on his constituents across Suffolk to support the initiative.

To mark this year's campaign David Ruffley has arranged Typetalk training for his Constituency Office staff.

Typetalk is the national telephone relay service for people with communication difficulties. The service was introduced in 1991, since then over 21 million calls have been made from text-phone users to hearing people and visa versa. Without Typetalk deaf and speech-impaired people would not be able to make telephone calls to hearing people, having to rely on friends and family to ring their bank, doctors etc on their behalf and hearing people would not be able to get in touch with text-phone users.

Nearly 15 percent of the UK population have some degree of deafness. For every 10,000 people:

• 10 will be born profoundly deaf. They probably get little or no benefit from hearing aids and mainly use sign language to communicate.

• 20 will have become profoundly deaf. They may use sign language and probably also lip-read.

• 100 will be partially deaf. They may have difficulty following what's being said, even with hearing aids. Mostly they will lip-read and some use sign language as well.

David said:

'Deaf Awareness Week is an incredibly important campaign. It is supported by over 100 deaf charities and organisations and seeks to draw attention to different types of deafness and the different forms of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lip-reading.

'To mark this year's campaign I have arranged for the staff in my Constituency Office to have Typetalk training. Since the Typetalk service was introduced in 1991 more than 21 million calls have been made to and from text-phone users. I hope that by giving my staff this opportunity my office will be even more accessible to my constituents with hearing and communication difficulties.

'I would encourage local people to do their bit in support of Deaf Awareness Week and urge businesses across Suffolk to look at the benefits of giving their staff training in the Typetalk service.'

Notes

More information on Deaf Awareness week can be found at http://www.deafcouncil.org.uk

More information on the Typetalk service can be found at http://www.typetalk.org