What it’s like to be a deaf staff member

This week we celebrate national Deaf Awareness week. Amanda Holland, who works at the Outpatients Appointment Centre, made a video to explain what it’s like to be a deaf staff member. If you don’t speak sign language, please turn the subtitles on. Thank you.

[Transcript below]

Hello my name is Amanda Holland and I am profoundly Deaf, and a British Sign Language user.  I work for OAC, Outpatients Appointments Centre.  There will be no sounds on this video, just subtitles for you to understand what I am going to say.

Thank you, DAWN – Disability Staff Network, for giving me this opportunity to share information about deafness and myself.


Subtitles are an important part of my life. To watch TV, films, programmes, YouTube videos, social media videos, etc.  It is impossible for me to hear what people say on video, even lipreading is hard. Subtitles are much easier and enable me to enjoy watching those videos.


Communication can be a positive or negative experience when stepping out of my home.  Not knowing if people understand me or not.  I don’t speak clearly because I can’t hear my own voice to understand what I say, so I use memory to remember how and what I say.  When I was young, I was taught how to lipread and how to speak.  In my school we had hearing and deaf people therefore we know how to communicate with both.  Unfortunately, not many people know how to communicate with deaf people.  It would be great for everyone to learn basic sign language to start with, so they can communicate with us.  I am happier when I had a good conversation with anyone who makes an effort to communicate with me. I enjoy it.


I wear a mask when I am out to protect myself and others.  The problem I have is that I’m unable to read lips if people have their masks on and can’t hear what they say.  I have to ask them to stay 2 metres apart and move the mask down. Most of the time they do, which I am relieved.


Many times I can see people think I can’t do something because of my deafness – “oh they can’t do it because they are deaf”.  It take right people to see me as a person who can do.  Nothing stops me from giving it a go. Once I went on TV Quiz Show.  I bought this place through a mortgage; communicated with the bank and lawyer to get the place as my own through mortgage, I communicated by myself – I can do it. In the past, I passed and carry full licence to ride motorbikes and went to the Isle of Man. I had fantastic time.  I was a Deaf Advocate for 6 years to assist Deaf service users to access the services they needed.  I am most grateful to the person who offered me my current role because they see me as the person who can do this role.  I am very grateful.


I am very proud to had joined and be involved with DAWN – Disability Staff Network.  This enables me to help them and UHP, University Plymouth Hospital, sorry, University Hospitals Plymouth, with my knowledge and background as a deaf person, and my abilities and skills.


My hope and ambition is to get UHP, University Hospitals Plymouth, to be accessible for deaf people and everybody, even me.

Thank you for watching.


One thought on “What it’s like to be a deaf staff member

  1. Thank you, very informative. It would have been much nicer to have had the subtitles at the bottom of the screen, so we could see Amanda talking to us.

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