The deaf community is planning an awareness campaign that caters for non-signing deaf people for the first time.
Deaf Awareness Week has traditionally focused on the needs of the signing community. But from spring next year, the week will raise awareness of the needs of deaf, deafblind, deafened and hard-of-hearing people, who use lip reading and hearing aids as well as sign language.
Fifty national and local groups will help run the campaign, which will be co-ordinated by umbrella body the UK Council on Deafness.
There are 8.7 million people in the UK affected by deafness of varying degrees, but of those only around 60,000 use sign language, explained Jonathan Isaac, director of the UK Council on Deafness.
"At the moment there is a very high-profile campaign for the recognition of sign language, but there is a danger sign language will dominate the agenda,