Proper Way to Communicate With a Person Who Has Hearing Impairment
By Space Coast Daily // January 29, 2021
The loss of hearing is actually the second most common form of disability but as of yet, it remains a disability that is invisible. There are not only a lot of people who are deaf and also people who have hearing loss but it is also equally hard to tell who exactly they are.
If we take the UK for example, there are currently over 11 million people who are documented as having hearing loss. To put that into perspective, that is around one in six people and of those people, there are also people who have to live with severe hearing loss and impairment.
With the number of people with disabilities regarding their hearing so high, it is essential that the rest of us learn an effective way to communicate with them.
A person who has hearing loss is not someone who is going to ignore you for no reason nor are they people with low IQs. While they may have issues with hearing, their other abilities are all intact (in fact, some senses may actually become more heightened in order to cope).
It is extremely important to remember that loss of hearing is not at all something that should be joked about or made fun of or even to get irritated. It is also equally important to note that people with impaired hearing are not seeking your sympathy but rather they are looking for understanding. Hearing loss can easily be catered to with hearing aids.
What people with impaired hearing want and need is just general consideration, courtesy and also communication. As the old adage goes, don’t do unto others what you won’t do to yourself. Similarly, think if you had issues such as these and actually think about how you would like to be treated provided you had the condition.
The same applies to people who actually suffer from the condition, they would like to be treated with respect, dignity and honor. One of the most annoying and demoralizing things that deaf people or hearing impaired people have to deal with is hearing the phrase, “Never mind, it does not matter.”
Well, the fact of the matter is that it does matter, it matters to the person who got thought of as being an “other” just because of something that they had no control over. Remember, it is not their fault that they are deaf or hearing impaired.
Whenever it is that a person speaks, a lot of clues are acquired not only from what we are hearing but also from what we are seeing. These clues work as being complementary and they also supplement one another and this allows us to comprehend and follow conversations.
This is especially applicable to people who have hearing impairments, for them visual clues are much more important than they are to us. A few simple actions from the part of the speaker can really help the hearing impaired person better understand and follow the conversation.
How to best communicate with a deaf or hearing impaired person?
It may not come to you as a surprise, but it is a little more difficult to communicate with a person who has hearing loss than it is to speak to people with hearing. However, there are certain things that can be done to help with the process of communication so that the person who is hard of hearing has a better time in communicating.
A person with hearing loss will not be able to follow a conversation properly especially when the conversation is taking place in a situation that is noisy and hence it is very important that you do the following:
■ Find a quiet place to talk if it is possible.
■ Make sure that there is adequate lighting and make sure that the light is directed towards your face. If there is not ample light shining on your face, then the person you are communicating with will have a harder time lip-reading.
■ You need to make sure that you have gained their attention in the first place. This can be done with something as simple as tapping them on the shoulder or the arm.
■ For people who lipread, it is very helpful to know the topic of the conversation. So, make sure that they know what you are talking about and make it as clear as possible.
Another good habit in communication with a person who has hearing difficulties is to ask them where they want to sit during the conversation.
This will be completely different according to different people but it is true that most people do like to sit with their back to the wall. Take dinner parties, for example, some like to sit at round tables while others like to sit right in the middle of the table and hence, the group. It all depends on the individual.