Official Meetings And The Hearing Impaired


Hearing impairment can be really taxing if the social environment is not supportive enough. There is usually no occasion when a person hard of hearing actually feels that he has a disability. The likelihood of one’s feeling that way is very much pronounced in group activities like a professional meeting, where there are a number of people around the table and most of them hear loud and clear. So here is the checklist of what you must remember when you expect the presence of someone with hearing disability in the meeting.

1) Have a written agenda distributed so that the fellow gets to know beforehand what all he should expect. This makes him prepare himself mentally about the meeting and the nature of discussion to be held.

2) If there is going to be a chair addressing the meeting, ask him or her to repeat the questions asked before proceeding to answer, which must be done at a slow pace.

3) When reading from a written material, make sure that you are speaking what you are reading because most of us read faster than we speak, which makes it difficult our hearing impaired colleagues to keep pace. So, take care.

4) If video or audio presentation has to be there, do use captions to explain the visual or the audio output so that it could be understood clearly and unambiguously.

5) The option of using an interpreter, if possible, must be offered. And the interpreter should be someone who could translate words into sign language and vice versa.

While the interpreter is on the job, the speaker must address the person directly and not the interpreter, so that there is direct communication and contact between the speaker and the hearer. The hearing impaired person would understand much of what you say from your lip movement and from the expressions that run across your face. The rest will be done by the interpreter. Therefore, when you address the fellow directly, the interpreter does only one quarter of the job while the rest three quarters is managed through direct exchange.

It is actually not such a difficult or cumbersome task to communicate with the hearing impaired lot. All you need to do is be a little cautious about of the fact that the person before you has a small problem that can be easily circumvented. Just bear a few things in mind and its smooth going all the way.