that not every person who is hard of hearing or deaf has the same communication needs. Some who have little or no hearing may prefer to use sign language whilst others who have a hearing loss whether it is slight or profound, may use lipreading skills and will need your help to enable them to understand what you have said.
that even if a lip speaker or signer is supporting, it is helpful to speak to the person concerned.
that you need to focus on the hard of hearing person even if you are with a group that includes hearing people.
that even if the person wears hearing aids they may NOT be able to hear you clearly.
that you may need to repeat what you have said or better still to put it a different way so that they can try again to understand what you are saying.
that if you shout at the person it may be very uncomfortable for them because the hearing aids will amplify the level of sound in their ears and they will still be unable to understand what you are saying.
that volume does not necessarily equate with clarity for hearing aid users.
that using facial expressions, gestures and your general body language provide useful clues to a lip reader.
that you need to check to make sure the person is following what you are saying.
that the use of a personal amplifier or loop system can be very useful to those with a hearing loss.It seems silly to say this but loop systems are only useful if they are switched on, and if the staff know how to use them. The use of loop systems in the business and entertainment world is improving but there is still more work to be done.
that new technology may be the way forward e.g. smart hearing aids and skype etc. but the support of people is vital.
that communication is a two way process and you both need to participate to get the best out of it.
Knowledge of what makes communication difficult and how to make it better. This can include:
noisy situations where everyone finds it difficult but for the hard of hearing it is really difficult.
modern restaurants, offices etc. with no carpets, wall coverings, curtains and having modern furniture (not soft furnishings) do not absorb background noise so well which means they are places where hard of hearing people may find it more difficult to communicate.
background music also makes it difficult for the hard of hearing to hear the spoken voice.
candlelight or low lighting makes it almost impossible for anyone to lipread – and we all lipread to some extent.
that positioning is very important for the hard of hearing person. For a group of say 6 people in a restaurant a round table would probably be better for them. Some hard of hearing people may prefer to sit with their back to the wall.
of the importance of speaking slowly and clearly when speaking on the telephone. It is particularly important to clarify dates and times, even days of the week. They are difficult to get right when face to face let alone on the telephone. Some businesses have internet interactive type operators - this is marvellous. Some banks have a textphone number - again so much easier to manage for the hard of hearing.