If you are dating a deaf/hard of hearing person this St. Valentine's Day, stop panicking!
Don't let any communication barrier stop you both from enjoying of a great date.
There are a very easy tips to follow that will improve your Deaf Awareness, and the communication will be nice and smooth!
THINK ABOUT THE ACCESSIBILITY
What's your plan for the big day?
Are you going out for dinner? Try to choose a well-lit restaurant. You will want to make things easy for your date to lipread you. If you prefer to dine at home, use lots of candles! I mean, not a single light, but LOTS of candles. Isn't it romantic?
Also, remember not to cover your mouth when talking or talk with your mouth full - It doesn't need to be said, does it?
What about going to the cinema? Check before the accessible subtitled cinema show is available. This link will help you: YourLocalCinema.com
There are also BSL Interpreted performances if you prefer the theatre. Go check this website: TheatreSign.com
If you are staying home, suprise with accessible National Theatre at Home.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE
Now you will see that the main tips for communicating with a deaf/hard of hearing person are quite romantic!! Start reading:
Before you start speaking make sure you have the person's attention by waving your hand or tapping the person's shoulder. This is a nice and classy first physical contact, don't you think?
Always make eye contact. I love this one! Very romantic!
Use short and simple sentences and please, don't shout. That's not pleasant and it can also make your body language seem aggressive – not the tone you are aiming for I bet?!
Use normal facial expressions and gestures. You don't want to exaggerate your face movements, be lovely!
Ask if you are communicating O.K. If not try to rephrase your words or write it down, share a paper and a pen; classic style is always more romantic.
Be patient, smile, be nice and NEVER give up!
LEARNING SOME SIGN LANGUAGE IS A WINNING BET
You will give such a great impression if you learn bit of sign language. Wouldn't you do the same if your date would speak Spanish or French?
Learning fingerspelling, how nice is the food, asking to go for a walk, or signing "I love you" would make that person's day!
We hope these tips help you to improve your Deaf Awareness and to be aware of how to communicate with your deaf/hoh date.
Watch: "12 ways to say "I Love You" in Sign Language: