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Олена Зеленська

How to communicate with a person with hearing or speech impairments

12.04.2022

If you are talking to someone who has a companion or sign language interpreter, address the person themselves, not the interpreter or companion.

Sometimes you may be asked to speak louder. And some people with hearing impairments may not know sign language, but can read lips. Then you may be asked to articulate more clearly. This doesn’t mean you should talk louder – you should simply say words more clearly. In fact, shouting can damage communication, because it distorts facial expressions and makes it harder for a person to read lips.

It is important not to hide your face, not to turn away so that your words do not lose their emotional intonation.

If the person you are talking to has difficulty pronouncing words, be patient and wait for the person to complete their thought. Do not try to guess what they’re trying to say or correct them while they’re talking.

But if you do not understand something they’ve said, do not pretend that everything is clear to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or clarify something.

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