Posted on: 3 December 2018
If you know someone that is hearing impaired, you might find communication somewhat difficult. It may prove especially difficult if you do not know American Sign Language — or ASL. In truth, it is best not to assume that someone who is hearing impaired knows ASL. It is estimated that approximately 28 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss, yet only an estimated 500,000 people use ASL as a natural language.
In other words, you may come across a person with a hearing impairment that also does not know ASL. How do you communicate in that case? Although ASL is a handy form of communication, it is not the only one you can or should use. You should find other proven and effective ways to communicate with someone who has a hearing issue.
Make Use of Modern Technology
Modern technology makes it possible for the hearing impaired to communicate more effectively with those who have no hearing issues. For starters, you have hearing aids. Hearing aids can assist a person who does not have total hearing loss. If you or someone you know is suffering from hearing loss, and is interested in learning more about hearing aids, consider speaking to a specialist like Mark Montgomery MD FACS.
Tip: If you know someone that has a hearing aid, try to minimize background noise (TVs, radios, and other loud noises) so the person can hear you clearly when you speak. Also, do not speak loudly. Speaking loudly may distort the sound of your voice rather than help the person hear you better.
Hearing aids are not the only modern form of technology that can allow a person with hearing loss to communicate with you. There are also devices that can track the movement of hands and fingers. The motion tracking then translates the signs into text on a screen. In other words, it is a translator that bridges communication gaps. Translation devices can also display your spoken words for the deaf person to read.
You might also consider apps that you can download on a smartphone. Certain apps allow your phone to capture your spoken language and send it in a text to the other person's phone or device. Therefore, you can communicate with the hearing impaired using a speech-to-text program.
Use Plenty of Visual Cues
Sometimes, the best way to communicate with the hearing impaired is to use plenty of clearly defined visual cues. If you find that you are struggling with communication, visual cues can sometimes clarify what you are trying to say.
First, make sure you face the person so they can clearly see your face and body language. Speak slowly in case the person is able to read lips, which is just one common way the hearing-impaired use visual cues to understand and communicate.
If you know someone with hearing loss who frequently visits you, consider hanging a chalkboard or dry erase board where it is equally accessible. Use it as a visual way to communicate quick thoughts, words, or feelings toward an individual who has hearing issues.
Finally, take the time to learn a few basic, yet important signs that you can use the next time you come across someone who is hearing impaired. You may find the signs more useful than you think. That is not to say that you will be able to jump up and immediately start communicating with someone who uses ASL frequently, vut it can assist you in a tough situation.
Most importantly, you should remember to remain patient and calm. Having to overcome a communication barrier can be hard on everyone involved but losing your patience can create hurt feelings and even more confusion. Instead, try to figure out from the other person how they best communicate and work your way into a better position for communication from there.Share