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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

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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