Tips For Communicating With Deaf Persons

Deafness significantly alters a person’s life and changes how they communicate with others. While those with hearing can communicate verbally, deaf and hard of hearing people have varying ways of communicating such as through visual and physical cues. Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired doesn’t have to be a huge barrier, although oftentimes patience and clarity is key when making an attempt to communicate effectively and clearly. Here are some good tips for communicating with someone who is deaf:

1. Get the deaf person’s attention before speaking

When communicating in a one to one situation, attempt to get the person’s attention before engaging in a conversation. Call out the person’s name, or use a visual signal to gain their attention in order to establish that they are the person being communicated with.

2. Speak slowly and clearly

This is important. Don’t exaggerate, yell, or overemphasize. This can cause distortion of lip movements and make speech reading more difficult. Focus on enunciating each word without too much force or tension, and speak in short sentences to make it easier to comprehend.

3. Look directly at the person when speaking

Do not turn or look away from person when speaking to them, maintained eye contact not only helps them better understand what you are saying but it establishes the feeling of direct communication.

4. Use body language and facial expression

Use visual and physical cues to help supplement communication and engage the deaf person in the topic being discussed. This can also help make it easier to read what is being expressed and to help the deaf person better understand what is being said.

5. Avoid covering the mouth when speaking

Doing anything that covers the mouth or obscures the lips can make it increasingly difficult for deaf people to follow what is being said through speech reading. Keeping the mouth and lips visible is an essential part of assuring that the person can read what is being communicated.

Communicating with a deaf person does not have to be significantly difficult, nor does one have to know sign language to have a productive conversation with someone who is hard of hearing. These methods can help aid in providing an effective means of conversing with someone who is deaf.