People who are deaf or have hearing loss have individual communication needs and you should ask someone how best you can communicate with them. Not every tip below will be appropriate for every person who is deaf or has hearing loss.
Hear about the top communication tips from deaf people and those with hearing loss:
Re-phrase what you said
If someone doesn’t understand you, repeat what you said or phrase it differently, use plain language.
Face the person you’re speaking to
Make sure you are facing the person you are talking to and speak clearly – avoid shouting, speaking too fast or unnecessarily slow.
Use an interpreter
You should always follow the advice of the person with communication needs. If that’s booking an interpreter or speaking to a friend or relative.
Write it down
Use pen on paper, text on device screens, or whiteboards to write what you want to say.
Get their full attention
Use simple gestures such as pointing or waving to get someone’s attention.
Reduce background noise
In a noisy place, move to a quieter area if possible.
Help us fight the stigma
Other tools to help with communication
- Download our Communications Tips poster (PDF, 76KB)
- Explore these live speech-to-text apps that are available with varying levels of accuracy, depending on background noise and speed of conversation.
- Use Video Relay Services, such as SignVideo (previously ‘InterpreterNow’), for communicating with people whose first or preferred language is British Sign Language.
- Read our guide about how to make your events more inclusive.
Communication at work
Communicating with staff and customers who are deaf or have hearing loss
Read about ways to make your workplace more inclusive for colleagues and customers.
How to make your meetings deaf aware
We’ve put together these tips to make meetings more accessible and inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss.