5 ways to communicate with the deaf

The new year brings new opportunities to set goals. If one of your goals is to improve your communication with deaf and hard of hearing, these 5 tips will help.

How can you help with communicate with deaf and hearing impaired?

There are over 360 million people who are deaf or hearing impaired worldwide. Over 20% of the population. Learning, understanding, communicating, and relationships are impacted. If you are reading this, there is a good chance you probably know someone who is deaf or has a hearing impairment. People can be born deaf or with a hearing loss, or they can lose it with age, medications, illnesses or from loud noise. People who are in the U.S. who are deaf or hearing impaired are protected by the Americans with Disabilities act (ADA).

Even if you don’t know sign language, or you are talking to someone who can hear perfectly, these 5 tips can help you become more understandable to everyone.

Tip #1 Get their attention. When talking to deaf or hearing impaired people, or anyone for that matter, until you know they can see and hear you, always get their attention by approaching them within their line of sight, making eye contact. Do not cover your mouth. Many deaf and hard of hearing can read lips. If you can’t get their attention with eye contact, try tapping lightly on their forearm to get their attention, before starting to talk.

Always make eye contact before starting your conversation.

Always make eye contact before starting your conversation.

#2 Communicate differently. Email, text or message them instead of calling them on the phone. Hard of hearing or deaf people often get confused by what you are saying when they can’t see your lips. Reading is more effective.

#3 Clarify. Clarification is essential to communicating with the deaf and hard of hearing. What you say may not be interpreted correctly. The only way to really know is if they repeat what you said back to you. It’s best to follow up your conversation with a transcript, text, email or other forms of communication.

Consider the deaf and hard of hearing when you are communicating.

Consider the deaf and hard of hearing when you are communicating.

#4 Treat everyone like they can’t hear you.  Deaf and hard of hearing have just as much to say and want to be included in everything normal hearing people do. Because so many people have hearing loss it’s better to assume that anyone could need some help making sure communication is understood.

Tip #5 Utilize resources, tools, and apps. If you create content, put captions on it. VZP Digital can help add captions to live broadcasts, pre-recorded video, audio files, adding translations and transcripts. Making all your content accessible for the blind, deaf and hard of hearing is the right thing to do.

All businesses should consider the deaf and hard of hearing community by providing tools and apps to stay in compliance of FCC and ADA rules.

Captions, transcripts and translations also help the normal hearing understand better.

It’s a win for everyone.

Need help keeping your company FCC and/or ADA compliant? VZP Digital specializes in fast, accurate, affordable transcription, translation, subtitles, closed captioning and metadata services.


Get started by requesting a quote 👉 vzpdigital.com