Interviewing A Person Who is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

I was given this sheet with some tips on how to interview a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.  I do not know who wrote it so I can’t cite it at this time but cannot take credit for it.  It has some helpful information for general conversations too.

“1) If you need to attract the attention of a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, touch him or her lightly on the shoulder.

2) If the interviewee lip-reads, look directly at him or her.  Speak clearly at a normal pace.  do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout.  Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact.  (Note:  It is estimated that only four out of ten spoken words are visible on the lips).

3) Place yourself facing the light source and keep your hands and food/beverage away from your mouth when speaking.

4) Shouting does not help and can be detrimental.  Only raise your voice when requested.  Brief, concise written notes may be helpful.

5) In the United States most deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL).  ASL is not a universal language.  ASL is a language with its own syntax and grammatical structure.  When scheduling an interpreter for a non-English speaking person, be certain to retain an interpreter that speaks and interprets in the language of the person.

6) If an interpreter is present, it is common place for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee.

7) Interpreters facilitate communication.  They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview.”

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