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12 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone Who Is Deaf

12 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone Who Is Deaf

Would you rather not be able to hear or not be able to see? That’s a common question people ask each other, but imagine having to live with either one of those disabilities. Those with either one need a lot of our love, support, and understanding. But, to offer all those things, you have to understand what hurdles they’re facing and know what you can do to help.

Here are twelve things that are crucial to remember if you have deaf people in your life.

1. Be close to deaf people

Of course you should be close to your deaf friends emotionally, but this tip is strictly about being close to deaf people physically. The nearer you are to them, the better of a chance they have to hear the words you’re speaking or read your lips. So, stay close to your loved one who is hard of hearing.

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2. Be loud enough for deaf people to hear you

Deaf people can’t hear as well as most other folks, so naturally you’ll have to speak louder for them to understand you. That doesn’t mean you should just shout at them; that comes across as aggressive. Instead, being a little louder than normal will project your voice and make it easier for deaf people to hear you. The website DeafTalk has a great resource to help you better understand sound level for deaf people.

3. Prepare deaf people for loud sounds

Loud sounds can be very disruptive for deaf people. Whenever you anticipate a lot of noise, be sure to warn the deaf person you’re with that it’s about to come so they can prepare for it.

4. Separate your words

Deaf people rely a lot on reading others’ lips. For that reason, to make it easier for them, it’s good if you sound out each word in a way that a deaf person can distinguish them.

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5. Keep conversations with deaf people focused

A scatterbrained discussion is a huge burden for deaf people. They’re following your words not just through sound or reading your lips but also through intuition. If you change the subject unexpectedly or do something else unpredictable, you’re making it harder for deaf people to understand you.

6. Lead deaf people to somewhere they can “hear”

This is pretty simple. Help get your deaf loved one somewhere where they can best hear the main speaker, read their lips, or preferably both.

7. Explain their needs to others

Most people haven’t read this list of tips, so it’s usually up to you to explain to others what your loved one will need from them.

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8. Keep an eye on what they can and can’t understand

In order to constantly improve your communication with someone who is deaf, take notice when they have trouble understanding you. Think about what you said and why it may have been difficult for them to comprehend, and adjust accordingly.

9. Be willing to communicate differently

Talking is the easiest way for a lot of us to communicate, but not so much for deaf people. Embrace communication via texts or email or something else visual to make their lives a little easier.

10. Talk in places that are quieter and more private

Identify locations where there will be as little disruption as possible for those with hearing problems. Even the sounds many of us filter out, such as traffic or background music, can be distracting, so be sure the places you pick have as little of that as possible.

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11. Be aware of visual cues

Deaf people largely depend on visual language, which makes something like a smile more valuable than ever and an unintended frown more problematic. Keep your visual cues in mind at all times because that’s one of the main ways deaf people are going to interpret what you’re thinking or feeling.

12. Display sympathy during the hard times

Know how to bolster up their spirits when deaf people need your support during the periods when they are most struggling with their disabilities. A few words of sympathy can go a long way. Your friendship and companionship is the most powerful thing you can offer anyone, especially those with disabilities. Never forget that.

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Matt OKeefe

Freelance Writer, Marketer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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