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Making swimming deaf-friendly

Photo: Go on... dive in!

Due to high noise reverberation, swimming pools have poor acoustics that can make verbal communication difficult, especially for deaf young people. Many deaf young people rely on hearing aids or cochlear implants which are not waterproof and this makes communicating during swimming activities even more challenging.

Deaf-friendly swimming

Watch our video about deaf-friendly swimming.

But there are lots of ways to adapt the swimming pool environment to make communication easier. Here are some tips:

  • Limit distractions by using quiet areas of the pool.
  • Explain things poolside when children can wear hearing technology.
  • Ensure the pool is well lit.
  • Light should shine on your face, not from behind you.
  • Turn off noisy water features such as Jacuzzi's, flumes and fountains.
  • Make other teachers, assistants, lifeguards and receptionists aware that a deaf child is attending.
  • Everyone should know what to do in an emergency, agree a visual signal.
  • Test your hearing loop regularly and ensure it is working.
  • Create visual signs for toilets, showers and changing rooms.
  • Have a board with teacher’s names, faces and pool rules.

Ensuring staff around your centre are practicing good deaf-awareness and even using basic sign language can have a huge impact on deaf children and their families. Find out more about making deaf-friendly swimming with our helpful resources and learn more about our Deaf-Friendly swimming project.