Just some pointers on how to chat with deaf people:
- Be normal: Act like you would with anybody else
- Face the person: When talking to a deaf person it is vital that they can see your face to lipread, watch your emotions and facial expressions
- Talk normally: Don’t exaggerate your words, over enunciated words and widened mouths are just patronising and not at all helpful as it distorts your lip patterns and sounds- therefore hard to lip read and hear
- Don’t cover your face when talking
- Repeat: Be patient and repeat what you’;ve said when the person asks you to
- Don’t be afraid! Deaf people just like everyone else, don’t make them feel otherwise by being too frightened to speak to them
- Write stuff down: Sometimes it can get frustrating for the deaf person and you if you have to repeat over and over…save some time and just jot it down or type on your phone
- Don’t whisper: Whispering is too hard to comprehend!
- Don’t talk in the dark: It’s not possible to see your face properly, so its harder to lipread or even tell where the sound is coming from
- Avoid background noise: Eg. noisy corridors, classrooms, restaurants, radio/music playing
- Don’t stand in front of a window:It makes it very difficult for the deaf person to see your face and can’t lipread
- Don’t jump to conclusions: don’t assume that if a person wears hearing aids or a cochlear implant or any other hearing device that they can magically hear what you’re saying. Equipment is amazing but it is not a cure.
Just some things you should know about deafness:
- There are different levels of deafness- everyone is unique in their needs
- Most deaf people rely on lipreading
- Deafness can be isolating, but there are perks to it too!
- Not all deaf people know how to sign
- Deaf and dumb is not true, at all.
- Deaf people do what TV, they can watch with subtitles or with a sign interpreter- sometimes though if these aren’t available…theres not much point!
- Sometimes when somebody says something to a deaf perosn and tehy don’t get an answer back, they assume the person is being rude, it could be that the speaker didn’t know that the person they were talking to was deaf but it still applies if they did know they were deaf. They are not being rude, but have just not heard. Catch there attention by tapping lightly or waving discreetly.
- It doesn’t always have to rhyme to be misheard! Eg. Talker: “Hey, what class are you taking?” Deaf person: “Yeah I have seven cats.”
- Deafness is a disability. People don’t always regard it as a disability because its not immediately obvious, its an invisible disability. Sometimes people don’t even notice the person is deaf when really the deaf person is just humouring the talker.
- Some deaf people do talk. Don’t be surprised when they can!
- Never forget that deaf people are just like everybody else, they just can’t hear.
Deaf awareness videos: