Since Ronnie joined our family, we have had lots of situations, mostly medical, in which an interpreter is present. It's always interesting to notice the reactions of the hearing people in the group, especially people who are there to relay and solicit information from Ronnie. What I have learned is that a lot of people don't quite understand how to have a conversation with a Deaf person and that person's interpreter.
So here are some tips that I found at Deaf News Today for communicating with people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired. If any of you have other tips, I would love to hear them.
- Make sure you have eye contact with the person before speaking
- If there is an interpreter, speak to and look at the deaf person not the interpreter
- Face the person to whom you are speaking (that helps with lip-reading)
- Stand in good lighting and avoid standing so that light is on the face of the Hearing-impaired person
- Avoid background noise whenever possible
- Move your mouth to articulate but don’t exaggerate
- Speak a little louder and slower than normal but don’t shout or drag
- Keep your hands away from your face and particularly your mouth
- Use lots of facial expressions and body movements
- If something is unclear, rather than just repeating the same thing, rephrase thoughts in shorter and simple sentences