There are many simple things you can do to ensure effective and productive interactions with individuals with disabilities. The following are some practical tips for interacting with persons who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
People who have hearing loss may be deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. The Canadian Hearing Society has used the following definitions:
Deaf (uppercase “D”) is a term that refers to members of a socio-linguistic and cultural group whose first language is sign language. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
Deafened, late-deafened and oral deaf (lowercase “d”) are terms that refer to individuals who have lost all hearing at some point in their lives, use spoken language, and rely on visual forms of communication, such as speech reading, text and occasionally sign language.
Hard of hearing is a term that refers to individuals who have a hearing loss ranging from mild to severe and who use their voice and residual hearing – and occasionally sign language – for communication.
Some individuals with hearing loss may use assistive technology to communicate such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, while others may use interpretive services or read lips.