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Ways of Communication for Deaf People

Ways of Communication for Deaf People

What, you might wonder, are the ways in which deaf people communicate with each other or with others even. In the following article, we will look through the different ways of communication available for the hearing impaired.
Rujuta Borkar
When one sees a deaf person, do you ever think beyond a hearing aid or sign language as the mediums with which they communicate? Not really, right? Not unless you are in contact with a deaf person and know their mannerisms and habits through and through. Unless that is the case, most are happy to relegate certain behavior patterns to a deaf person's behavior and be content with that. Which is wrong. So, unless one delves deeper into their behavior patterns or the different ways in which they communicate (which is the basic subject of this article), there will be no clarity brought out. In that direction then, let us go into the study of the communication forms that are available for deaf people and look beyond the sign language and hearing aids factor.

Methods of Communication

The ways in which the deaf will communicate with each other as well as people who do not have compromised hearing powers, will depend on a number of factors like their background, their loss of hearing powers and the like. In general though, there are several forms of communication through varied devices and methods that have been developed. In the following sections, we will look through these and try to get a perspective into the same.

Sign Language
The most popular method of communication that has been used is that of sign language. The way in which this works is that the letters, ideas as well as the concepts are converted to correspond to hand signals. The benefit that this method provides for is that there are varied alternatives and options like the American sign language system, English sign language or even the Mexican sign language. This helps because a culturally viable method can be used by the hearing impaired person and it might actually help him communicate better.

Lip Reading
Another popular method that is used is that of lip reading. This method uses the grammatical rules of the English language and is used in the way that the deaf person will understand the language by watching the face and the lips of the speakers. They might then use sign language to communicate back with the person.

Cued Speech
In this method, hand gestures are used near a person's face so that the deaf person can read the lips better. This method follows the grammatical rules of the English language.

Facial and Gesture Reading
Even though this is not a language, it is definitely a way in which deaf people learn to understand what is being communicated. In that way, they can then communicate what they have to say through sign language, an interpreter or through the varied devices that are formulated.

Using interpreters is a method that has proven to be very successful. This works in many ways, such that a deaf person can use an interpreter to understand what is being said. For example, a person who has complete hearing powers but might not know sign language can speak what he has to and then the interpreter can translate and relate it to the deaf person in sign language or through finger reading. Similarly, the deaf person can communicate what has to be said through the interpreter and get his thoughts across.

Devices for Communication
Technology has played a major role and there has been an advent of several devices that can be used as ways of communication for deaf people. These combine methods like computers and other machines to communicate what they have to say. Here is a list of some of the same:
  • Telecommunications Device for the Deaf
  • Voice Carry Over
  • IP Video Relay Service (IP-VRS)
  • Captioned Telephone (Captioned Relay or CapTel)
  • Print on Palm (POP)
  • Braille Notetakers
  • Screen Braille Communicator (SBC)
These then are the varied ways of communicating with deaf people. With the advent in technology and the newer and better methods that are being formulated every single day, there is no doubt that more unique and expert methods will soon be developed. Until then, these are the varied ways of how to communicate with deaf people and how to have them communicate with you in return.