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How to Get a Deaf or Deaf-Blind Person's Attention

How to Get a Deaf or Deaf-Blind Person's Attention

Something many people often don't know is how to get the attention of a deaf or deaf-blind person. For someone who is only deaf, there are several ways. For deaf people:

1) Wave
You can wave to them. Most deaf people have a heightened visual awareness and will notice your wave even if they're focused on something else. Wave small if you're close by and larger if you're far away.

2) Stomp your foot or knock on the table
You can send vibrations through the floor by stomping your foot or through a table you're both sitting at by knocking on it. Some floor types carry vibrations better than others. For example, a wooden floor will carry vibrations whereas if you stomp on a sidewalk, the deaf person probably won't even receive any vibrations.

3) Flash the lights
This is a more last resort way, especially if the deaf person is doing something like reading. But if the floor doesn't conduct vibrations well and you're behind the person, you can flash the lights.

4) Tap them on the shoulder
You can tap the deaf person lightly on the shoulder. This should also be used more as a last resort since being tapped can startle a lot of people easily.

For deaf-blind people:

1) Wave right in front of them.
A lot of deaf-blind people have some residual vision and may be able to see you waving your hand if you stand directly in front of them. For some totally blind people, they might be able to feel the wind your hand creates, but there are more useful ways to get the attention of a totally blind deafblind person. (Waving your hand directly in front of someone's face can feel disrespectful to some people.)

2) Stomp on the floor or knock on the table
This works the same way as with sighted-deaf people. Deaf-blind people can also feel the vibrations through the floor or a table you're both sitting at (provided they have their arm or hand on the table).

3) Touch their hand
You can touch the hand of a deaf-blind person lightly. This implies you want to start communication.

4) Tap them on the shoulder
Like with a deaf person, you can tap them on the shoulder, although this should be used as a last resort since it can startle them easily. This especially holds true in a street setting where the deaf-blind person might not be expecting someone to get their attention.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write such informative articles. I have read several. Occasionally, I receive TTY calls for my company and wanted to know how to serve your community best. Thank you. Good reading!


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