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Tips in Communicating with the Deaf


Deaf people or people who are hard of hearing need additional assistance to receive the message that is being conveyed to them effectively.

The following tips might be helpful to them in understanding the message. These tips require a lot of practice for them to be effective.

Tips 1: Get Their Attention

  • Before interacting with the deaf, you should get their attention. A gentle tap on the shoulder or  wave of hand can be used.

Tips 2: Positioning and Environment

  • Choose a quiet place when talking to them.

  • Position yourself at a normal distance from them.

  • Make sure that you are not blocking the light source.

  • Let the deaf people choose their seat first.

Tips 3: State the Topic of Conversation

  • Initiate the conversation by telling them the topic. This will help them to be more focused and alert to the discussion.

Tips 4: Speech Rate and Loudness

  • Speak at a normal rate. Do not speak too fast or too slow.

  • Speak at a normal loudness.

  • Speak without having something in your mouth. This can reduce your speech clarity.

Tips 5: Repeat and Change Your Words

  •  If deaf people have difficulty understanding your message, repeat and change the words you used.

Tips 6: Use Open-Ended Question

  • Use open-ended questions to clarify whether they  understood your message.

Tips 7: Use non-verbal language

  • Non-verbal language such as eye contact, simple signs or gestures, body language and facial expressions  can help deaf people understand the message better.

Tips 8: Speak Clearly

  • Speak clearly as muffled or unclear speech is difficult  for deaf people to understand.

Tips 9: Be Patient When Communicating

  • Be patient when you are communicating with deaf people. You might have to repeat your message a few times before they can understand it.

Tips 10: Be alert to fatigue

  • A deaf individual needs focus and attention when communicating. Sometimes the process can be really tiring to them.

Kind Reminder

  • When communicating with the deaf, keep in mind that  just because they have hearing loss, it does not mean that they have less intelligence

  • Although deaf people have hearing difficulties, that doesn’t mean that they are unable to understand your message.

  • Writing down some keywords can help the deaf people understand the message  better.

  • Speak normally  and use normal expression. Maintain eye contact when talking to them. If conversing in a group, make sure that only one person talks at one time.


  1. e-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 2002. Communication Tips with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing; Retrieved September 1, 2012 from http://www.michdhh.org/hearing/comm_tips.html

  2. How To Communicate With Deaf People; Retrieved September 1, 2012 from http://www.wikihow.com/Communicate-With-Deaf-People

  3. Tips For Communicating With Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing(HDD) People; Retrieved September 1, 2012

  4. Communicate With Someone Who Is Deaf or Hard of Hearing; Retrieved September 1, 2012 from http://www.raisingdeafkids.org/communicating/tips/adult.php

  5. Good Communication Tips; Retrieved September 1, 2012 from http://www.deaf-first.org.uk/comm-tips.html

  6. Deaf Communication by Innovation, LLC, 2007; Tips for Communicating with the Deaf / Hard of Hearing; Retrieved September 1, 2012

  7. Tips for Communicating with Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) People, Retrieved September 1, 2012 from http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/sensory/interpreting/commtips.htm

Last Review : 28 August 2020
Writer : Nurul Fatehah bt. Ismail
Accreditor : Ernie Heliza bt. Yusof
Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi