Interacting with The Deaf & Hard of Hearing Person

Communicating with other people never comes easy. There will always be barriers that can make things a lot way harder than they originally are. In law enforcement for example, there are lots of possibilities that different languages are spoken by one, person and another. Sometimes, each person also has different dictions, pronunciations, and accents that could cause another difference in between the two, despite having the same spoken language.

The same thing would come in sign language, but there are fewer barriers compared with the former. But just imagine what it would be like if one who uses sign language would go and interact with someone who doesn’t? It would be difficult for both of them when dealing with people without a sign language job training. I cannot be certain whether you might have had this experience already or not yet. Anyway, what matters is for us to know the things that we can and can’t do when we are trying to interact with them, and of course, a few tips will surely help.

Patience & Consideration

It is absolutely not going to be easy, but an extra patience and consideration from you will surely be appreciated. If you do try to communicate and interact with them, it might take some time for them to get what you’re trying to relay, so try to understand that this isn’t a typical kind of situation.

Exaggeration

teacher enunciating wordsOf course, just because they are a bit special and they need patience and understanding from us, that doesn’t mean that we have to exaggerate things for them for thinking that this would help. For example, just because they are deaf or hard of hearing, this does not mean that we have to scream or shout so that they can hear us. It simply adds noise, and it could seem disrespectful. Mumbling doesn’t help either and even trying to do it slowly and exaggerating the movement of the mouth, and facial expression does not help either. Acting normally and treating them like an average person would certainly make them feel better too.

Physical Contact

There is no need for you to touch them physically but an eye to eye contact would certainly make them feel more comfortable because this means that you are focused and paying attention. This is what makes the interaction engaging, the same way with spoken communication. You don’t have to look so intensely, but a bit of a stare would make a connection between the two of you as you look them in the eye, they’ll take a look at your mouth so that they can quickly follow. Of course, you can only do this when facing them because moving away from your face into another direction would certainly distract them from trying to read your lips and it would also be taken as a rude gesture.

Technology

Take advantage of whatever gadget is available. Aside from a face to face interaction, you can also start communicating with them through distances. Keeping in contact with them through texting, e-mails, or even video chatting is a great way of doing it. Both of you can be comfortable, and you can keep each other updated!

sign language for deaf childrenSincerity

Communication gaps are normal, but the best way to fill those in is through sincerity. Be sincere in trying to interact with them. Make sure that it’s not making them uncomfortable, that you’re not getting in their personal space, and that you are not disrespecting them in any way; not even unintentionally. This is the key reason why it is important to get a head’s up about what are the things to do and not to do if ever you’d interact with them someday!