City Lit Blog

Guardian journalist Saba Salman discusses the challenges of working from home for deaf people with City Lit

Story added 22nd Apr 2020

Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi/The Guardian


Three-quarters of people with hearing loss fear they will be less productive working from home. What support is needed?

Working from home is a challenge for many of us, from learning how to communicate with colleagues via Zoom, to acquainting ourselves with the nuances of telephone conference calls. But imagine what it must be like if you are deaf or having difficulty hearing?

Guardian journalist Saba Salman visited City Lit just before the lockdown to discuss the challenges and solutions with Mark Hopkinson, Head of City Lit’s Centre for Deaf Education, and former City Lit student Ilyaas Cader, who is a deaf refugee and one of City Lit’s Centenary Award Winners. Saba also spoke to our friends at Action for Hearing Loss who published research earlier this week about the challenges of working from home for Deaf people and those with hearing loss. They found that three-quarters of people who live with deafness fear that they will be less productive working from home.

You can read the full Guardian article here >


Here are a few tips on how to make phone calls or video calls easier for colleagues with hearing loss.


·         Speak one at a time

·         Mute yourself when not speaking to reduce background noise

·         Have a clear agenda to provide structure and contextual clues to what is being said

·         For video conferencing it is helpful if the camera is square-on and everyone is well lit from the front

·         If the source of light is behind the individual then faces might be in shadow which makes lipreading harder



City Lit Centre for Deaf Education

City Lit has provided support for deaf people at its heart right from our establishment, in 1919. Some of the first courses ever offered by City Lit were lipreading classes for deafened soldiers returning from World War I. Over the years, we have grown to become an internationally-renowned centre of a wide range of provision - it is the largest centre of its kind in Europe. Our staff is a mixed group of deaf and hearing professionals; all highly skilled in their own areas of specialist expertise. Browse our courses here >