Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Improving communication with people who have hearing problems

The ability to communicate clearly is something we often take for granted. However, one in six people in the UK experience some form of hearing loss, which means we may be excluding people and making their lives more difficult without realising it.

Deaf Awareness Week from 7-13 May aims to raise awareness and understanding of different types of deafness by highlighting the different methods of communication used by deaf and hard of hearing people.

Communicating with someone who is deaf doesn't have to be hard, it just takes time and patience to make sure it is undertaken in the individuals’ preferred method and that above all, it is effective.

Hearing aids can help but they don’t restore hearing perfectly and so the wearer may rely on lipreading. People born profoundly deaf often use sign language as their means of communication and often can’t lipread or understand written English - sign language is structured in a completely different way to English.

Tips to help improve communication with relatives, friends, colleagues and customers who may have hearing problems

  • Attract the listener's attention before you start speaking by waving or tapping them on the arm.
  • Always face the person you’re talking to. 
  • Find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting and away from noise and distractions. 
  • Speak clearly but not too slowly and be careful not to exaggerate your lip patterns. 
  • Don't shout as this can distort lip patterns and make you look aggressive. 
  • Don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing. 
  • Use natural facial expressions and gestures. 
  • Check that the person you're talking to is following what you’re saying. Use short and simple sentences and avoid jargon. 
  • Don’t keep repeating what you’re saying if someone doesn't understand. Try to say the same thing in a different way. 
  • In group conversations, include deaf and hearing people in the conversation and don't just focus on those that can hear. 
  • If using communication support, talk directly to the deaf person rather than the interpreter and maintain eye contact. 
First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations: 

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk (opening soon!)
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. Psychology
    Psychology” is the scientific study of mind and of consciousness. Psychology attempts to explain, predict, modify and ultimately improve the lives of people and the world in which they live. Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science, which needs introspection as little as do the sciences of physics and chemistry.