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Useful Communication Tips

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Photo by Harvey Finkle © 2014

 

  • A general formula based on the National Center for Health Statistics is 8.6% out of the general population are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  In New York, we have 18.4 million residents.  With that formula, we would have about 1.58 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.  In reality there are 89,000 Deaf and 1.41 million Hard of Hearing people in New York City.
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  • It would help to get the person’s attention with a wave of the hand, a light tap on the shoulder, or other visual signals.
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  • Try facing the person and position yourself so you are in a well-lit area for the person to see you well.
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  • When you speak to the person, please keep the hands and objects away from your mouth and face.  The person needs to see your facial expressions.
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  • It would help to inform the person when the topic under discussion has changed.
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  • To aid the flow of communication, paper and pen would be helpful.  Using a computer to type messages would be another useful communication tool.
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  • Like any conversation, it would be good to make sure the person understands you by asking for feedback to ensure proper understanding.  The use of body language, gestures, and facial expressions would help a person to understand your intent.
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  • The use of a qualified or certified sign language interpreter(s) would ensure no communication gap exists between the person and the speaker.
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  • Do not assume everyone can read lips. For the English language, speechreading is only 30% accurate. The rest is just educated guesswork.
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  • Wear solid colored clothing that contrasts with skin color. Loud colors can be distracting. Jewelry should be minimal.