A LIBRARY assistant at the University of York has spent a day at the House of Commons to explain to MPs life as a deaf person in a hearing working environment.

Ruth MacMullen visited London as part of a HearFirst event to highlight the methods of communication used by deaf, blind and hard of hearing people in the lead up to Deaf Awareness Week.

More than 25 MPs attended bite-sized training sessions to understand the impact of deafness on people in their constituencies and improve communications skills, and Ruth - with her assistance dog Chester - talked to them about her job and the university's support.

Ruth said: “I enjoyed talking to MPs and sharing my experience of deafness in and out of the workplace. This was an interesting and insightful experience and I was proud to represent my employer there.”

Julie Ryder, director and founder of HearFirst, said: "I am really pleased that a representative from the University of York came along to support the event and spoke to MPs at first-hand about real life experiences and the barriers and challenges that deaf people may experience in a working hearing environment.

"The aim of the event was to raise awareness of deafness and provide MPs with the knowledge and skills to help them make real changes for deaf people within their constituencies. In the case of MPs, it could mean being deaf aware during one-to-one meetings with constituents, making more formal meetings accessible and considering the needs of BSL users in written or web based materials."

The eleventh annual Deaf Awareness Week runs between May 19 and 25, with hundreds of deaf charities and organisations across the UK participating in a series of national and local events to raise awareness of the cause.