Short courses


Deaf Awareness: Working and Communicating Well with Deaf People (online course)

  • 6 hours
  • Work at your own pace


This short course will help you (or your employees) understand the variety of types of hearing loss and the needs of these groups of people.

It will also help you understand what access support this group of people may need.

The course will look at how deafness affects people in different ways by exploring real life examples, giving you an insight into Deaf culture, identity and sign language.

It uses videos to let you see people communicating, which will help you understand the different methods of communication in practice.

You'll also learn about causes of deafness and assistive technologies that can help to provide equal access.

The course is entirely self-directed and online so you can study at your own pace.

Who this course is for

The course is aimed at anyone who interacts with deaf people, or those with a hearing loss, who wishes to have a deeper understanding of the issues they face and Deaf culture.

Course content

Deafness and hearing loss can occur for a variety of reasons, including age-related causes, accident or disease. It's estimated that around 70 million people in the world currently live with hearing loss (source: World Federation of the Deaf).

In this course you'll learn about:

  • the importance of deaf awareness, being deaf, different experiences of deafness and hearing loss: you'll experience different perspectives of deafness to enable you to understand how it affects individuals
  • a history of deafness: we look back through history and consider how attitudes and policies impact on deaf people, then and now
  • Deaf culture and sign language: you'll gain an insight into unique communities who identify not as a group with a disability but as cultural minorities with their own languages
  • equal access: we look at why equal access is important, the effectiveness of lipreading, guidance on good communication and adjustments related to deafness
  • some commonly available communication aids and support - from qualified communication-support professionals, to technology such as real-time speech-to-text

You'll be accompanied on your journey through the course by four people who share their experiences of being D/deaf and hard of hearing.

Note: Uppercase 'D' Deaf refers to those who identify themselves as culturally deaf; they belong to a Deaf community and are sign language users. Lowercase 'd' deaf is a broader term covering anyone who has a hearing loss.

Course video

Watch the course video to find more about the course from someone who has completed it.

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Course structure and teaching

The course is completely online and you can complete it at your own pace. You'll have access to videos that illustrate the essential visual aspect of communicating with deaf people and people with hearing loss.

It's available in a modular format so you can tailor your learning experience to fit your needs.

Once enrolled you'll have 90 days to access and complete the course.

There will be an assessment of learning outcomes at the end of each module.

You'll receive a UCL certificate of participation for completing this course.

What makes this course unique

Although it's conducted online, this course uses video to convey the essential visual aspects of communication.

You'll see real people communicating and understand the different approaches to communication in practice rather than having to rely on theory.

You'll see interviews with people across the spectrum of hearing loss and understand the complexities and challenges they face. This practical and personal experience will enable you or your staff to gain a real understanding of the issues.

The course gives a holistic view of deaf awareness: it covers the medical, cultural and societal context. This, combined with the personal perspectives of real people, gives you a unique insight into what it's like to be Deaf or have a hearing loss.

Benefits to employers

If you employ someone who is deaf or has a hearing loss, or you provide services or products to this group of people, providing your staff with this training will mean:

  • you'll be better placed to improve the productivity of deaf staff by helping them to be integrated and included fully within your workforce
  • your staff will have a better understanding and empathy with someone who has a hearing loss and therefore understand how they can best accommodate their needs
  • your staff may be able to become more understanding and open, so you'll provide a better service to customers who are deaf or have a hearing loss, increasing their satisfaction
  • you can understand how to provide more 'deaf friendly' services, thereby attracting more of these customers and tapping into a huge potential market (Action on Hearing Loss estimates that by 2031 there will be 14.5 million people with hearing loss in the UK alone)
  • you'll be meeting some of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and meeting more diversity objectives

Cost and discounts

Standard prices are as follows (inclusive of VAT):

  • Individuals - £119
  • Bulk booking of 15 or more - £112 per person

Discounts for more than 40 people

Further discounts are available for a single order for multi-user access of 40 people or more. Contact dcal.da_course@ucl.ac.uk for more information.

UCL staff and student discount

A discounted rate of £50 is available for UCL staff and students with eIDT access. Contact dcal.da_course@ucl.ac.uk for more information.

Bespoke courses

We can also offer bespoke online solutions for organisations. For example, we can customise the course for your organisation by creating scenarios and developing a lexicon specifically for your client base, add your organisation's branding, etc.
Contact the course administrator at dcal.da_course@ucl.ac.uk to discuss your needs.


There are no prerequisites for this course except a desire to communicate or provide effective services to people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • be aware of the various perspectives on deafness
  • be able to differentiate between social and medical models of deafness
  • have an understanding of Deaf communities, which are identified as distinct cultural groups
  • be able to apply effective communication tactics
  • recognise the importance of equal access those who are Deaf or suffering from a hard-of-hearing loss
  • recognise some common causes of deafness and hearing loss and know about assistive technologies and support available, as well as the importance of an individual's preferences in choice of assistive technology
  • have tried the BSL 'taster', which enables you to fingerspell and produce very basic words and sentences in British Sign Language, e.g. hello, thank you, how are you, my name is etc.

Course team

Who's developed this course?

Who's developed this course?

This course has been developed by the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at UCL, which is a world-renowned research and teaching centre.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:00