Hasmita on being born profoundly Deaf | Our news

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Hasmita on being born profoundly Deaf

Headshot of Hasmita, medical records team leader at Whipps Cross

My name is Hasmita Patel, I was born profoundly Deaf in both ears, and I use British Sign Language (BSL) but mostly with Sign Supported English (SSE).  

I can communicate orally and rely upon lip reading when I’m having a one-to-one conversation. However, I sometimes struggle as I tend to be distracted easily due to having tinnitus from a young age .  

Reasonable adjustments help me do my job

All my life, I have faced lots of barriers with both employment and in my social life. This has often left me feeling excluded. I have always been determined to break these barrier s down and overcome the se obstacles .  

I applied for a job as a medical records junior clerk at Whipps Cross Hospital in 2019 and within a few months, I applied for the position of Team Leader. I'm pleased to say I got the job through hard work and on my merit and I have been a Team Leader for four and a half years now.  

I have a Communication Support Worker (CSW) every day, which helps me keep my work position sustainable. I also have Access to Work (ATW) grant funding from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) as part of a reasonable adjustment. The purpose of having a CSW is to ensure that I am included in the working environment.  My CSW helps with tasks like updating the teams with ongoing daily duties and issues that may arise, answering telephone enquiries, modifying grammar, translating verbally with staff and patients, including in staff and management meetings .    

Although I am a lip reader, this does not mean I have clearly understood what people are saying to me, having a CSW eliminates the embarrassment on both sides.  

How can you help?

As a Deaf person, I think we could all benefit from more education on Deaf awareness and Deaf inclusion. For example, on some occassions when people speak to me, they don’t talk directly at me. Instead, they look at the CSW to pass the message and may walk away when talking - both of these actions make it very hard for me to lip read and therefore I struggle to get a clear understanding of what is being said. This can leave me feeling like I am not included in the conversation.  

Deaf action has some great tips on how you can improve how you communicate with a Deaf person. I have included some I find particularly pertinent below. 

  • Use gestures: Using simple gestures to communicate, for example, pointing or even demonstrating can help add context
  • Maintain eye contact: Try not to look away or cover your mouth or face when speaking this can make it much harder to lip read or even gauge facial expressions
  • Write it down: If all else fails, write it down!
  • Be patient: Take your time, speaking at a slower pace can help.
  • Reduce background noise: This can make it more difficult — particularly for those hard of hearing — to differentiate between other conversations and what you're talking about
  • Don't assume you've been heard: Make sure to get the person’s attention before talking. Try lightly tapping their shoulder or waving
  • Learn a few British Sign Language phrases: There are lots free online British Sign Language courses you can use to learn some basic phrases which could be used in everyday conversation.


Add a response »
  1. Hasmita Patel Thursday, 9 May 2024 at 12:09 PM

    Thank you for promoting the Deaf awareness week - much appreciated!

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