Shrewsbury charity raises deaf awareness festival style

Signal, the Shrewsbury-based charity working in Shropshire and sub-Saharan Africa, will be banging the drum for deaf awareness at Shrewsbury Folk Festival this weekend.

The charity is working with the festival organisers to bring a hearing loop to the annual event’s new workshop venue to help people with hearing loss fully participate in the activities on offer. A loop system can channel sound directly to a person’s hearing aid, dampening background noise.

Alongside the performances of folk music from the UK and around the world, the festival holds workshops from morning yoga to dance, beginners’ and improvers’ music and crafts. This year many of these activities will take place in the new Roundhouse yurt, where Signal will be providing the hearing loop to help fully include people with hearing loss.

Signal’s volunteers will also be offering the folk festival goers a free hearing screening. Earlier detection of potential hearing problems means these can be investigated sooner and people can be helped to manage any hearing loss and its sometimes isolating effects.

Feelings of isolation can come about by being excluded from conversation, and the charity’s volunteers will be encouraging all visitors to the festival to understand what it is like to live with deafness or hearing loss. As they pass between the venues on the festival site, visitors will have the chance to watch a short video and pick up tips on communicating clearly and considerately.

The festival goers will be entertained by folk rhythms from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, and Signal would like enthusiasts to listen safely so they can continue to enjoy this music for years to come. So the volunteers will be handing out some funky coloured ear plugs thanks to the charity’s partners, Shropshire NHS Audiology.

Wearing ear plugs, as well as taking breaks from loud noise close to PA stacks, helps keep ears safe at festivals and concerts.

Signal is excited to be involved in this “world-class festival with a Shropshire heart” and sharing the love for building deaf friendly communities in Shropshire and the world! Interestingly, in Africa this includes providing deaf children with drums in the classroom to help them sense sound and learn speech through vibrations.

As a bonus, Signal has teamed up with a Shrewsbury-based eatery to put on a free draw for the folk festival goers. The prize is an evening meal for two at the CSons eatery, where the food and drink is “locally sourced and globally inspired.”