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Communicating with someone who is deaf doesn't have to be difficult. But you do need to be patient and take the time to make sure you are communicating properly. These are some of the simple things you can do to make communication straightforward for both of you.
- Even if someone is wearing hearing aids it doesn't mean they can hear you perfectly. Ask if they need to lipread.
- If you are using communication support, always remember to talk directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter.
- Make sure you have face-to-face contact with the person you are talking to.
- Get the listener's attention before you start speaking, maybe by waving or tapping them on the arm.
- Speak clearly but not too slowly, and don't exaggerate your lip movements – this can make it harder to lipread.
- Use natural facial expressions and gestures.
- 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.
- Find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting and away from noise 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 easy to lipread, don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing.