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Home News The dos and don'ts of communicating with those who can't hear

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The dos and don'ts of communicating with those who can't hear

by Michael Ford last modified 22 Jan, 2020 05:13 PM

Our Chaplain to the Deaf Community has written some guidelines to help those who hear as they work with the Deaf community.

The Revd Neil Robinson says he aims to help people familiarise themselves with how best to engage with people with various levels of hearing loss within a church setting, and to enable those who hear to have awareness of their needs in terms of communication and situation with those who cannot.

The guidelines are for everyone - members of the clergy, lay people who lead worship and have roles within the Church, and anyone in the congregation.

Access them here

Neil says:

"People who have a hearing loss differ in terms of their communication needs,"

And he gives some simple Dos for communicating:

"Always smile! Never show your nervousness. Face the person when talking to them as they need to lipread you.

"The light must be on your face so they can see your lips and hands.

"Always attract their attention before speaking so they are looking at you. It is often easiest to tap a person on the shoulder.

"Speak naturally and clearly, NOT babbling too fast. When you have a conversation, always start with the topic of the conversation so they can understand what you want to talk about. Use gestures if a deaf person doesn’t understand you."

Neil also lists the Don'ts:

"Don't be impatient if the deaf person cannot understand you. Don't shout – remember that they are too deaf to hear you!

"Don't look away from the deaf person – they won’t be able to see your face.

"Never talk with your mouth full - it is not nice to do this! Don't cover your mouth when talking with the deaf person and don't assume that they will understand you straightaway."

Finally Neil says don't keep repeating the same sentence again and again. Think of a different way to say it.

Read the guidelines and find out about how hearing loss affects differing members of our community, here.

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