WEBINAR (18 August) - Communicating in a Covid World

Communicating in a Covid World



Tuesday 18 August, 6.30pm BST

This BSHAA webinar brings together experts from across the UK to discuss the current research, impact of COVID restrictions on communication and ways to overcome some of the challenges. Join Dr Kim Hagen from the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), Dr Michael Stone from Manchester University's Centre for Audiology and Deafness, and Anne Orpin and Susan Simons from the Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA) at 6.30pm on Tuesday 18 August.

Registration for the live webinar is open to all and free of charge. A recording will be available for BSHAA members only


Exploring the impact of face coverings on communication

Michael Stone

Dr Michael Stone
Senior Research Fellow, Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD)

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. PPE to protect the eyes, nose and mouth comprises face masks and transparent visors. These range from a simple coverings made from domestic fabrics for use by the public, to FFP3/N99 rated air filters and wrap-around face visors in care settings. All these PPE styles make spoken and signed communication harder. The obligatory use of PPE in public settings means that everyone, not just the hearing impaired, will struggle to understand in real-world conditions and background sounds. This will result in increased listening effort, stress, communication errors and potentially social withdrawal.

This talk explores the background to some of the issues identified so far, and possible ways being used to tackle these.


Improving communication for patients

Anne Orpin and Susan Simons

Anne Orpin and Susan Simons
Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA)

Anne and Susan will discuss ways to improve communication for patients inside and outside the consulting room as everyone is currently distancing and wearing some form of face covering. Discover:

  • the impact of social distancing and face covering for Deaf/ hard of hearing people
  • what you (the audiologist) can do to help patients
  • what patients can do to help themselves
  • the technology that is available to help


Assistive technology in times of Covid


Dr Kim Hagen
Technology Research Officer, National Deaf Children’s Society

Lockdown, social distancing and the use of face coverings has presented a new set of challenges for deaf and hard of hearing people. New uses of existing assistive technology can present solutions to challenging everyday situations at home, work, and out and about.







Michael Stone works in ManCAD, based in the University of Manchester, UK. Although an engineer by training, he has spent over 30 years in research on auditory perception, particularly among the hearing-impaired. Some of this work has been implemented in clinical testing, hearing aid fitting methods and commercial cochlear implants. With Gaby Saunders and Harvey Dillon, Michael co-leads the NIHR-funded Hearing Device Research Centre in ManCAD which performs research to ensure technical devices and software integrate well with the patient.

ManCAD is the leading provider of audiology education and research in the UK. It is heavily committed to translational research, the practice of developing laboratory discoveries to improve clinical practice.  Its group head, Kevin Munro, is a former chair of the British Society of Audiology.




Anne Orpin, trustee, Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA)

"In my various employed positions, I was interested in communication and how it could work better in organisations. As communication is done in different formats, I learned BSL as part of that interest. I then qualified as a lipreading teacher in 2009, teaching lipreading for several years and have been a trustee of ATLA for five-and-a-half years."

Susan Simons, trustee, Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults (ATLA)

"I became interested in lipreading as a communication strategy over 17 years ago when a hearing therapist suggested I attend lipreading classes. I qualified as a lipreading teacher in 2014 and have been teaching lipreading and managing hearing loss part-time since. In 2018 I was fortunate to be part of a NHS cochlear implant interventional project. I was one of 10 adults to receive a unilateral cochlear implantation whose residual hearing fell outside the current NICE criteria. It has improved my ability to follow conversations enormously but lipreading still plays an important part of my communication strategy. Having been a trustee of ATLA previously, I returned to being a trustee in Spring 2019."

ATLA was formed over 40 years ago. Its aim is to create a world where lipreading classes are available to anyone who needs them. ATLA has a website to raise awareness of lipreading classes to members of the public which includes information about lipreading, a search facility for finding local lipreading classes and other relevant information, such as managing hearing loss. ATLA also liaises with Lipreading Teacher Training Course providers, and trainee lipreading teachers can apply to ATLA for bursaries towards their course. Qualified teachers can apply for a grant to help set up classes where a need has been identified but a class is not provided by the Local Education Authority (LEA) or other class provider.



NDCS logo

Kim has worked at the National Deaf Children’s Society since 2017 as a Technology Research Officer. She supports families of deaf children and the professionals working with them. Her role raises awareness of the latest technologies, how they can help in everyday situations and provide solutions to issues deaf children and young people may face. Kim has had a moderate hearing loss since birth. She holds a PhD in social sciences and combined her interest in the social consequences of hearing loss and working with children. This led her to the National Deaf Children’s Society.

The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity for deaf children. They give expert support on childhood deafness, raise awareness and campaign for deaf children’s rights, so they have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Back to news