Growing Up With Hearing Loss
Communicate With Someone Who Is Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Read this page for tips on communicating with a person who is deaf.
Do you have a friend, classmate or co-worker who is deaf?
Maybe he uses sign language or maybe he speaks.
Either way, there are things you can do that will help you communicate.
How to communicate with a person with hearing loss
Communicating with a person with hearing loss sometimes takes longer than talking with a hearing person. But it can be rewarding. Follow these tips the next time you meet someone with hearing loss.
- Ask the person what would be the best way to communicate.
- Have paper and pencil ready. You may want to write down words that are hard to understand.
Find a quiet, well-lit room to talk in.
- Good lighting helps both of you see each other's faces.
- Background noise makes it harder to hear if you have a hearing aid.
- Try not to rush. Rushing can make it hard for the other person to hear you or read your lips.
- Don't pretend to understand if you don't.
Ask the person to repeat what he said.
- Nodding doesn't always mean a person understood what you said.
Ask him, "Do you understand?"
Or ask, "Do you want me to say that again?"
- If the person doesn't understand you, repeat what you said.
But this time, use shorter, simpler words and sentences.
Talk normally, and keep your mouth clear.
- Talk normally. Speak a little louder than usual but don't shout.
Shouting changes the way your face looks.
It can make things harder to understand.
- Don't overdo your lip movements.
Talking a little slower helps the most.
- Don't put anything in your mouth while talking.
- Don't cover your mouth or turn your head away while talking.
Make sure you can see the other person's face clearly. Make sure he can see yours, too.
- Wait until the person can see you before talking
- Stand or sit about 3 to 6 feet from the person.
- For groups, have everyone sit in a circle so everybody's face can be seen.
- Watch facial expressions.
- Look right at the person when you are talking.
Learn sign language.
- Try to learn from someone who uses American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language.
- Take a sign language class. Classes may be offered at
- the local school for the deaf
- adult education programs
- other community programs
- local colleges
- Make a friend. Deaf adults are often eager to meet hearing people who want to make friends. This is a great way to learn sign language. It doesn't cost money. And, you won't have to follow a class schedule.
- Get a sign language video.
- Get an ASL dictionary.
- Check out these ASL sites on the Internet.
These tips were written by Liberty Resources.
Learn more about how to communicate with a person with hearing loss: