10 Tips for Speaking with Deaf or Hard of Hearing People

  1. Relax and smile.
  2. To get a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person’s attention, lightly touch them on the arm or shoulder.
  3. Face the person. Eye contact is incredibly important when trying to convey communications to the Deaf.
  4. Look and speak directly to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing interpreter is with you.
  5. Remember that noise and environments with distractions in them make the communication harder to provide.
  6. While some Deaf/Hard of Hearing people rely on “lip reading/speech reading”, only 30% of communication is captured by the best lip readers. Don’t expect all Deaf people to have the ability to read lips.
  7. Don’t feel the need to shout or exaggerate your speech. It only makes things more confusing and uncomfortable.
  8. It’s a good idea to discard chewing gum and please don’t smoke while speaking. It hinders the communication process.
  9. Remember to pay attention to your Deaf/Hard of Hearing user. A puzzled look might mean you need to clarify or repeat your remark.
  10. Don’t worry about passing through people who are signing to each other.

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