Hearing Impaired

Written by Linda Alexander
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The term "hearing impaired" is not necessarily more politically correct than the word "deaf." In certain countries, "deaf" is fully acceptable and is even preferred over "hearing impaired." By definition, it does not necessarily mean 100% hearing loss, but the terms can be used interchangeably when referring to a culture of people, or a loss of sense of hearing.

For hearing people to communicate with deaf people is sometimes difficult. One problem is a language barrier. Many hearing people don't know American Sign Language while many deaf people don't actually speak English with their voices. However, there are things that you can do to ease communication.

Communicating With Hearing Impaired People

Sometimes, people can lipread and speak. Ideal conditions for this would be to speak clearly but not too quickly, and always face the person who is trying to lipread what you are saying. Also, a well-lighted room helps as does the absence of background noise. Correct distance from the person helps; depending on how well the person hears and sees you may need to be between three and six feet away from them.

Keep in mind that everyone's hearing loss is different. Some people may have trouble distinguishing between certain sounds and many words look alike when lipreading. So a hearing impaired person may need more time to process your message. If the person with whom you are trying to communicate signs and you don't know sign language, you might do well with a notepad or typing over the internet. Where there's a will, there's a way!

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