Have you ever wondered how Deaf/Hard of Hearing people cope with everyday things at home? I mean, as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) sometimes people ask me how my parents "hear" the doorbell or the telephone... Or what about the alarm clock? Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are able to deal with all these things!
If you have ever been invited to a Deaf/HoH person's house, you might have noticed a few things that you hadn't realised before:
DEAF-FRIENDLY DOORBELLS: There are many different products and models, and the main objective is to alert Deaf people to the noise of the doorbell by flashing the lights in the home when your visitors ring the bell.
TELEPHONE/ALARMS... I remember the days when our home used to use the Fax... A bulb was connected to the telephone and it turned on every time they received a message, how times change!
Nowadays, my parents don't use a telephone at home, instead they use mobile phones, always with the Vibration Mode-ON. And a flashing light if the phone has that option.
What about morning alarm clocks? There are different systems designed to wake you up in the morning, such as light or vibration.
If you have a Deaf/HoH guest at your home, you don't need to install all these systems, but, for sure you can make their visit more deaf-friendly:
LEARN TO SIGN
Welcome your guest warmly by learning a few key phrases. It will really make a difference; trust me.
Phrases like "hello", "welcome", "how are you?", "thank you", and "good bye" make Deaf and Hard of Hearing people feel welcome and appreciated.
STAND WITH YOUR FACE TO THE LIGHT
Make sure the deaf person has a clear view of your face and the lighting is good – this helps with lip-reading and clearly shows your facial expression.
REDUCE BACKGROUND NOISE
Background noises such as traffic, the TV or the radio can make it difficult for hearing aids and cochlear implant users to hear everything, they amplify all noise. Block out unnecessary noise by closing windows, doors and turning machines, radios or TV's off.
TURN ON THE SUBTITLES
If you have your TV on, remember to turn your subtitles/captions on to make the information more accessible.
GAIN THE PERSON´S ATTENTION FIRST
If you are far from the Deaf/HoH listener and you can't tap him/her on the arm to get their attention, then you can try the following tips:
wave your hands up and down
stomp on the floor to make vibrations
flash the room lights a few times
We really hope that you have enjoyed of our Tips for a Deaf-friendly home and improve your experiences of communication.
You can also watch the following video with some Tips to Help You to Communicate with a Deaf Person Effectively. You may think that most of these things are obvious, but in conversation we do these things all the time and without even thinking about it!! Enjoy, please!
We would like to offer you a poster with basic Deaf Awareness for your Workplace or Club. You can download and send it by email or print it and pin it in a visible place (find out about this poster here)