There are several ways to communicate with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person and we have compiled our top four tips.
1. Be aware of your body language
Keeping your face centered and not turning away, making sure you’re in good lighting, not chewing gum, and making it clear when you change who you’re speaking to are all details hearing people may not consider, but make a world of difference for anyone who may read lips, or look to facial expressions and demeanor for context.
2. FOLLOW THE LEADER
Deaf and hard of hearing people do not all communicate the same way. Don’t be afraid to directly ask what way the person you’re interacting with would like to communicate!
3. don't give up
Sometimes not being fluent in sign language will mean a bump in the conversational road. A hearing person may be tempted to just say "never mind" or "I'll tell you later". This is something Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals hear often and it can make them feel isolated.
4. GET AN INTERPRETER
It might seem obvious - but our best tip is our last. If you can prepare for a conversation ahead of time, hiring an interpreter or interpreting company is the way to go. Remember when using an interpreter to still speak to and make eye contact with the Deaf person and not the interpreter.