Connect and communicate for Deaf Awareness Week

Optalis’ Deaf Services team offers some advice around establishing meaningful connections and effective communication with people with hearing loss.

The Optalis Deaf Services team is a well-established first point of contact for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people in Wokingham. They also liaise closely with professionals and services in the area. The team communicate in a variety of ways to meet the individual needs of the customer.

Did you know 1 in 6 people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing? To mark Deaf Awareness Week, here are some tips to communicating with people with hearing loss:

  • Make sure you have face-to-face contact with the person you are talking to.
  • Get the listener's attention before you start speaking, for example by waving or gently tapping them on the arm.
  • Speak clearly but not too slowly … and don't exaggerate your lip movements, this can make it harder to lip-read.
  • If you're talking to a group that includes deaf and hearing people, don't just focus on the hearing people.
  • Don't shout. It can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and it looks aggressive.
  • If someone doesn't understand what you've said, don't keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way instead. Rephrase.
  • Find a suitable place to talk - with good lighting and away from noise, glare and distractions.
  • Check that the person you're talking to is following you during the conversation. Use plain language and don't waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.
  • To make it easier to lip-read; don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing.

You could also take some time to learn finger spelling and test your knowledge with this game from the British Sign association.

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