PROPER ETIQUETTE: Communicating with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Published on Monday, 28 May 2012 12:33
• There are many excepted ways to communicate. They include American Sign Language (ASL), lip reading, hearing aids, writing, spelling and the use of assistive listening devices. The individual will usually let you know which method they prefer.
• Don't pretend to understand or rely on guessing to determine what someone is saying ask the person. What they are saying is important and either of these methods are demeaning. Simply asking them to repeat themselves will often make it possible for you to understand.
• Always start with the most common method of communication. Do not assume that you should shout, speak slowly or simply nor write things down. Shouting or speaking slowly can make your words even more difficult to understand. If the person doesn't understand you, rephrase instead of repeating your statement.
• When someone is understanding what you are saying by lip reading speak clearly. Avoid obstructing the view of your mouth by chewing, smoking, covering your lips or not facing the person. If possible, have the conversation in a quiet, well-lit room.
• Get the persons attention before speaking with them. Tapping the person on the shoulder, extending or gently waving your arm in a way that is not disrespectful or does not invade the individuals personal space is a good method to use. If you are in a large room or meeting flickering the lights can also be used.
• If necessary, use a sign-language interpreter. This is especially good when you know ahead of time that the conversation will include important, detailed and/or complex information. Look at the person not the interpreter. Speak to the person don't ask the interpreter to relay your message to the person.
• Treat others the way you like to be treated. Think of things that may currently offend you, dont assume that it wont offend someone else because you think they have to accept it or should be used to it.
Understanding what's being said is difficult but not impossible. For those who may have never been able to hear it can be difficult because they have learned the words in a different way. It is important to remember the difficulty is in understanding your words not your point. Using these methods will make for a high-quality conversation.