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Communication Challenges of People with Hearing Disabilities and How to Help Them

Communication Challenges
Communication Challenges of People with Hearing Disabilities and How to Help Them
on May, 06 2014
    671
Communication Challenges

Image credit: Anna Lam taken by Cerry Chan under Public Domain.

Deafness is a disability that is misinterpreted in several ways. In fact, there are certain remedies that could have been done despite the communication challenges so that they may be able to start a conversation. However, due to the difficulty of learning the sign language, many people end up ignoring those with hearing disabilities. Just like any person without disabilities, deaf people also need to communicate. Therefore, efforts must be made so that they can convey their thoughts and emotions just like anyone else.

How to help people with hearing disabilities

There are varied degrees in which a person can be deaf. There are those who experience hearing loss only when they hear soft and moderate sounds. In this case, medical interventions can still be made to correct the problem. There are also those who have problems when it comes to loud speech. They may be able to hear sounds, but can barely recognize them. Medical or audio interventions may be necessary to let them hear better during these situations. Hearing aids and devices such as cochlear implants may be used. They may also be taught more complicated strategies in communication so they can easily understand the speaker. For those who cannot hear any sound, it might be high time to try sign language and lip reading.

How to make the situation conducive for communicating with deaf people

Yes, it is a challenge for deaf people to still be able to communicate without necessarily writing or typing every word that they say. If you can learn the sign language, then it will be a lot easier for you to exchange thoughts with them. However, for people with hearing disabilities who can recognize certain sounds and can read via lips, there are techniques to ensure that they can still understand you:

• Make sure that you speak with them face to face. Stand in an area where there is proper lighting so they can see the movement of your face.

• Find a quiet place where you can talk. Loud noises in the background might confuse them. Instead of understanding what you say, they might get confused by the loud noises.

• Speak naturally. Don’t exaggerate the movements of your mouth. If possible, use simple words and create short sentences. Lead them to the conversation by starting with the theme of the discussion.

• Create a friendly atmosphere. Make sure that you make them feel comfortable. Let them see your efforts in making a conversation.

• Rephrase words that are misunderstood. Also, summarize certain thoughts if necessary. When requested to say the words again, do it with a smile.

• Don’t speak loud. Some people think that deaf people are all the same and that shouting is a prerequisite when speaking with them. However, this is not the case. For some deaf people, being shouted at makes them feel bad.

• Make use of gestures. Do this if you don’t do sign language. This will somehow aid in the conversation.

Being a friend, classmate or family member of someone who has a hearing disability might be a little challenging. However, this does not compare to the challenge that they face. Thus, you need to be more compassionate and understanding.

AUTHOR
Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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