Communication process with the deaf people around us is not the same as communicating with normal people. It requires patience and knowledge to talk with deaf people. In general, hearing impaired people follow two ways of communication with the world. One is Cochlear implant and another is sign language. There can also be a mix of these two processes. Now let us have a look on what is what.
A Cochlear implant is a device planted in the inner ear of a deaf person. It enhances the incoming sound vibrations and sends those to the brain cells. Basically it works as a cochlear area of the inner ear and thus took the name. The people who use this implant described that they can hear a mechanized sound through this device. That’s why they may be in need of reading your lips. Lip reading is also taught to the deaf people so that they may understand better what is being said to them.
Another way to communicate with the deaf people is to use the sign language. Now, the history of this language dates back to 1814 and at the same year deaf education was introduced to the USA. The history started with Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet who first used sign language to teach his neighbor’s daughter Alice Cogswell. Later he along with Laurent Clerc, a deaf educator from Europe, started a school for the deaf which is now known as the American School for the Deaf. In this sign language there is a sign for every English alphabet and word. Talking through this language can be more effective if done properly.
Things to remember while communicating with a deaf person:
If you are trying to have a conversation with a hearing impaired person, please follow these rules-
- Speak slowly in front of them. Give them chance to see your lips while you talk. That will give them enough time to understand what you are saying by reading your lips.
- Try to use easy words while communicating. That way, it will be easier for them to understand you.
- Avoid using acronyms because that will affect your conversation.
- Keep your patience while talking. Give them enough time to understand and respond. Remember, they are not as normal as yourself. They need time to react. So don’t lose your patience.
- If you are using sign language, make sure that you know the language very well. Or it may happen that you are sending wrong messages to the person you are talking to.
- If you are not that well versed in sign language, make sure that you have a sign language specialist who can translate your conversation to the person and vice versa for you.
Communication with a deaf person does not require anything more than your patience. This is the only factor that can get you going with a hearing impaired person. So keep your patience. Give the person ample time to understand and react. And always retain a positive outlook towards them. You will find that deaf people are not so deaf after all.