for Communicating with Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) People
Individuals who are Deaf, Deafblind or Hard of Hearing have the right to
access clear and effective communication in their environment allowing
them to be active participants. Communication
access, through appropriate accommodations, means that these individuals
are given exactly the same information that people who can hear are
Communication access does not strictly concern
language access however also encompasses a much broader definition of
access. This relates to
environmental accessibility. For
example visual fire alarms are one form of communication access.
Guidelines for respectful and effective
Get his/her attention, make eye contact.
Make sure your face and body is visible.
Use your normal tone, volume, and speed.
Do not over enunciate or yell.
Use check back strategies to make sure everything
is going smoothly or if adjustments need to be made.
If you sense a struggle rephrase your comment/
question. For example,
“What is your address?” might become “Where do you live?”
Be aware of your environment.
Adequate lighting? Background
Be sure your mouth is free of obstructions such
as a cigarette or food.
Be aware of your tone of voice.
Unconsciously you may sound or look patronizing.
Remember facial expressions and body language
influence understanding. Only
25% of the English language is visible on the lips.
This means that is impossible to completely depend on lip
reading to understand the entire message.
It may be necessary to rephrase.
Be patient and flexible!
Additional Resources relating to Communication Access
January 14, 2013