Deaf twins want you to learn these sign language staples for dating

‘Deafness doesn’t have to get in the way of true love,’ say sisters Hermon and Heroda Berhane, the twins behind the popular Instagram, Being Her.

‘Dating someone who is deaf or hard of hearing can lead to a deep and meaningful relationship, as long as you focus on your similarities rather than your physical differences.’

This Sign Language Week, the twins have teamed up with Tinder to teach people some useful British Sign Language (BSL) phrases that may be useful in dating.

The pair, who have more than 90,000 Instagram followers, want daters to be ‘open-minded and patient’ and hope to encourage people to think about the extra barriers the deaf community face when looking for love.

BSL is currently used by 150,000 people in the UK, which significantly shrinks the dating pool for those who need it.

New research by Tinder found 71% of those polled would not feel confident dating someone who’s primary form of communication is BSL.

On using BSL as a first language, twins Hermon and Heroda say: ‘Dating can be daunting, but being deaf can feel 10 times more challenging because people can be very judgmental about deafness.

‘We’re teaming up with Tinder to encourage anyone who is interested in learning sign language and deaf culture to absolutely go for it.

‘We have a wonderfully diverse culture with a beautifully expressive language to go along with it, which we’d love for you to learn all about.’

Their dating sign language series shows how to sign key dating terms, to better prepare singles for dates with members of the deaf community and to raise awareness of the obstacles they may face.

Signing phrases include: ‘I like your smile’, ‘I’m glad we matched’ and ‘I’d like to see you again’.

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Tips for being more deaf aware

  • Face the person while you are speaking, don’t turn away
  • Repeat yourself if necessary
  • Keep your mouth visible
  • Don’t speak too quickly or too slowly
  • Speak one at a time, don’t talk over each other
  • Write it down or draw a picture
  • Reduce background noise or find a quiet environment
  • Use simple gestures to communicate; point or even demonstrate
  • Learn some basic BSL
  • Be patient – if the person doesn’t understand you, don’t give up!

Philip Gerrard, CEO at Deaf Action said: ‘Being born into a deaf family and having BSL as my first language, I take pride in having such a strong cultural deaf identity.

‘Every year, National Sign Language Week celebrates when BSL was recognised as a language in the UK.

‘We’re thrilled to be working with Tinder on this opportunity to spread deaf awareness, which will make a real impact on the challenges deaf people face, particularly when it comes to dating.’

For those looking to further expand their BSL skills, Deaf Action is running a series of introductory courses to BSL supporting this campaign.

More information can be found here.

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