Brush Up on Your Etiquette for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Salinas, CA

August 15, 2015 7:33 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you have a friend, loved one or new acquaintance who is deaf or hard of hearing in Salinas, CA, then you know that communicating in a respectful, productive way can sometimes be difficult. Short of becoming fluent in sign language, there is not much you can do to ensure that you will never encounter logistical difficulties in your relationship with a deaf or severely hard of hearing person. However, by learning a bit about deaf culture and the proper etiquette for communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person, you can certainly cut down on tension.

  • Know the nuances: First and foremost, you need to understand the difference between deaf and hard of hearing. Deaf people have very little to no hearing, and rely on visual communication to get by. Hard of hearing people fall across a wide spectrum, and can often still carry on full spoken conversations with other hearing people. If you see someone using sign language or wearing a hearing aid, do not assume they are one or the other. Instead, just ask!
  • Getting their attention: If you live, work or interact with a deaf or hard of hearing person on a regular basis, you may find yourself needing to get their attention. If you have tried saying their name clearly and still receive no response, it is all right to gently tap their shoulder, or to wave your hand in front of their face. Just remember to take special care not to scare or startle them.
  • Using an interpreter: Many deaf or severely hard of hearing people will use an interpreter when communicating with hearing people. If you are talking with someone who is using an interpreter, remember to address your comments and questions to the deaf or hard of hearing person, not to their interpreter. For example, never ask, “Does he want to eat now?” Instead, address the hearing impaired person by asking, “Do you want to eat now?”
  • Use body language: Deaf or hard of hearing people cannot hear your tone of voice when you speak, meaning that facetiousness, anger or other emotions and points might not come across as clearly to them. Whether you are signing, using an interpreter or having them read your lips, try to use body language as much as possible, so that the deaf or hard of hearing person can fully appreciate what you are conveying.
  • Let them decide: Some deaf or hard of hearing people read lips, some prefer to communicate using paper and pencil and others prefer to have an interpreter at their side at all times. Whatever your friend, loved one or acquaintance prefers, respect their choice, and work with them to enjoy a productive conversation.

If your loved one is deaf or hard of hearing in Salinas, CA, there are a number of different paths they can take. To learn more about available options, get in touch with Valley Hearing Center today or anytime. We all look forward to meeting with you.

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