Archives for February 2010

Wednesday 24th February 1pm BBC2

SH Line Producer | 15:19 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

We all hope never to have to enlist the help of the emergency services, but if the occasion arises and we do need them, the ambulance service, fire-brigade and police are just a phone call away.  But dialling 999 is not an option if you're unable to speak to, or hear, the operator at the other end.    Police throughout the UK have been thinking of ways to improve the service they offer to D/deaf and hard of hearing people with several initiatives, for instance, an emergency SMS text messaging service or a crime prevention survey in your own home.  Memnos Costi investigates two such schemes in operation in Hertfordshire and the West Midlands.  


Also on today's programme, roughly 1.5 million people in the UK use hearing aids but according to RNID research the number could be closer to 4 million.  Hearing aids can transform lives but it seems many people are reluctant to wear them.  Armed with her grandmother's hearing aid from the 1930s Maggie Philbin visits one of the UK's biggest manufacturers to look at hearing aids, past, present and future.  


We also catch up with the England Deaf Cricket team as they get themselves in shape for summer fixtures and the World Cup in New Zealand later this year.  There are strict qualifying criteria; all players have to have an average hearing loss of 55DB or over and to remove any hearing instruments during games.  But like any other England sports team, it seems beating the Aussies is the best bit.



Wednesday 17th February 1pm BBC2

SH Line Producer | 18:40 UK time, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

On today's programme we visit a group in Rotherham that aims to help deaf learner drivers get to grips with the theory test and ditch their L-plates.  Sharon Turner has 30 years experience behind the wheel as a driving instructor.  Realising deaf learner drivers could happily get on with actually driving the car, it was the written test that was letting them down; Sharon decided to address the issue.  Recently qualified as a Level 1 BSL user she's one of the first instructors in the UK to run a group for deaf learner drivers.  Explaining words that crop up in the test has helped boost her learner's confidence.


We also look at the growing trend of baby signing.  Many parent and baby groups now embrace aspects of sign language as it's believed to help develop speech and literacy in hearing children.  The phenomenon of baby signing first emerged in the United States during the 1980s and has been steadily gaining pace all over the world.  The theory is that babies between the age of 6-9 months can do hand actions but as their vocal chords don't develop till they're at least between 12 to 18 months old, baby signing can give them a way of communicating with adults.  This makes the baby less frustrated and has fewer temper tantrums.


For many years distinguished mezzo-soprano, Janine Roebuck, kept the opera world in the dark about a personal secret that could have altered the course of her career.  She reveals to See Hear how she manages to keep her voice, and her passion for music, on top form.  As a teenager Janine was diagnosed with progressive nerve deafness and was told that music would only ever be a hobby for her.  She developed coping strategies and with hearing aids became a professional singer.  Like any professional she constantly works on her voice and technique.  Janine is currently involved in a project teaching music to deaf children.  For more information follow these links:  




Wednesday 10th February 1pm BBC2

SH Line Producer | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On today's programme we meet a deaf woman who says she owes her life to her hearing dog, Boris.  Bernadetta Henry suddenly went deaf in 1982.  A brain haemorrhage ten months later meant she became a wheelchair user.  In 2004 her local hospital put her name forward as a candidate for a hearing dog from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.  Boris, a Bichon Frise, entered her life.  Within months the pair had a remarkable bond.  Bernadetta suffers with sleep apnoea, a condition which stops her breathing in her sleep. Boris knows exactly when to rouse her and how to get her to breathe normally again...


We re-visit the concept of 'the deaf brain' with another chance to see a film that won the Best Factual Film prize at last year's Deaffest.  CityUniversity, London, set up a project to learn more about what happens physically in the brain when people watch a person sign or speak.  Speech is processed on the left side of the brain, yet movement is processed largely on the right side - so where does signing fit?  For more information on this project follow the link below:


We also catch up with actress Sophie Stone.  See Hear last met her in 2008 when she was just completing her drama school training.  As the first deaf student to graduate from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art how is life on stage and screen panning out for her? 


Since filming Sophie Stone has been cast in the play 'Pandora'.  She'll be appearing at the Arcola Theatre in London from the 18th May - 12th June 2010.




Wednesday 3rd February 1pm BBC2

SH Line Producer | 19:12 UK time, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

It is National Storytelling week (January 30th - February 6th) and See Hear looks at ways in which deaf and hard of hearing children are being introduced to the joys of stories and reading.  Deaf children can often struggle to develop basic levels of literacy and numeracy, and research shows that children who interact with books from an early age do better at school.

We met Taffy Thomas, storyteller in residence at Grasmere in the Lake District, who explained the tradition of storytelling.  Some schools regularly have storytellers visit them and we dropped in on story time at Glebe Primary in Rayleigh, Essex, where Lorraine Barfoot was enthralling both hearing and deaf children.

Bookstart is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with their children from as early an age as possible and show that books are fun.  It aims to provide a free pack of books to every baby in the UK to inspire, stimulate and create a love of reading.  The National Deaf Children's Society, in partnership with Bookstart, want to make books accessible for deaf children too.  They're keen that books include pictures of deaf children to help develop a child's own identity.  Some books also have key words signed so a parent, sibling or grandparent can learn simple signs alongside their child.

If you wish to get hold of a Bookstart or Bookshine pack, then log onto or ask your health visitor.

In a very different arena Radha Manjeshwar tries her own hand at storytelling... She takes up the challenge of being a tour guide at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.  This historic palace, one of Henry VIII's many royal residences, has a wealth of stories and it offers BSL tours on a regular basis.  The next ones are Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February 2010, and Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th March 2010.  These must be pre-booked, but if you want to arrange a tour, just get in touch and they can set one up for you.  More details at:

If you fancy getting out and about a number of tourist attractions around the UK offer British sign language tours.  Here's a selection:

Canterbury Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, offers signed guided tours on a regular basis, including some signed Evensong services.  The next one is the Saturday before Easter.  They'll provide extra BSL tours if visitors request them.

At the Scottish Parliament buidling in Edinburgh each deaf visitor can be provided with a hand-held device with a BSL guide on the screen which can be used anytime during scheduled tours.  Live tours can be arranged if booked in advance.

At the other end of the UK, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton also offers signed tours.  Any deaf visitors wishing to revel in the opulence of this distinctive landmark, can simply contact the bookings department to arrange.


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