Communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing
Always check first with the person which method they prefer to use when communicating.
Types of Communication
- Lip reading is a way for a deaf person to gain information about what is being said. This is done by watching lip movements (patterns) and linking this to clues from body language. Only 30 - 40% of any sentence is lip-readable so the rest is guesswork based on the context of the conversation.
- When you are talking with a deaf person make sure they can see clearly your face and mouth while you are talking. Skilled lip readers may want a professionally trained lip speaker present at a meeting or interview.
- British Sign Language (BSL) is a recognised language. It has grammar, tenses and word order that are different from English. It is a visual language, using hand shapes, hand movements and facial expressions to convey meaning
- Sign-supported English (SSE) and signed English (SE) are used by some deaf people. They are both based on spoken English and have similar structure and grammatical rules.
- Sign-supported English combines sign language and spoken English, whereas signed English is a direct representation of spoken English.
See our web pages on what to consider at meetings
Information on equipment & services