Deaf and hard of hearing

Wearing a hearing aid is a personal choice so it’s not always obvious if a person is hard of hearing.

In the community

  • Maintain eye contact; speak in a normal tone and volume.

  • If the person wants to lip read face them directly, keep your mouth uncovered and your lip movements natural.

  • To get a person’s attention gently touch them on the arm or place yourself where you can be seen.

  • Rephrase things that are misunderstood.

  • Use hand and facial expressions to illustrate what you say.

  • Write to communicate if necessary.

  • Avoid the term ‘deaf/dumb’. Some people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can speak while others use sign language to communicate.

  • Keep your conversation natural. Don’t be embarrassed if you use terms like ‘Did you hear about…’

  • If possible ask short questions that require short answers.

  • Nodding may indicate that the message is received but not necessarily agreed with.

In the workplace

  • Be aware of any visual distractions in the room or space.

  • Reduce background noise. It can interfere with hearing aids.

  • Face the person and not the interpreter if one is present.

  • Position an interpreter so that they are near you and visible. This may involve rearranging furniture.

  • Speaking and showing an image simultaneously can be confusing; speak first and then show the relevant image.

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 December 2019