A few basic rules can be followed to aid communicating with a colleague who is deaf or has a hearing impairment.
- Converse in a quiet environment or move to one in order to facilitate communication. Amplification devices are very sensitive to ambient noise.
- Speak clearly and avoid unnecessary jargon.
- If in a group or at a meeting, only one person should speak at a time
- If you need to attract the attention of a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, touch him or her lightly on the shoulder.
- If the person lip-reads, look directly at them. Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact.
- Position yourself about three to six feet directly in front of the person in an area that is well lit, but avoid sitting in front of a bright window.
- Do not cover your mouth or eat, keeping hands, pens, cigarettes etc. away from your face when speaking.
- There is no need to shout. Only raise your voice when requested. Brief, concise written notes may be helpful.
- Do not turn away when speaking, and allow time for what you said to be absorbed by the person.
- If an interpreter is present, it is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated opposite the person with the hearing impairment.
- Interpreters facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview.
- Speak clearly and at a pace that allows the sign-language interpreter to interpret for the person who is deaf and to allow him or her to respond through the interpreter.
- Support colleagues/employees who may wish to train as sign language interpreters.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008