Letter: Do's and don't of communication
To the Editor:
Communication is a necessity these days. The following suggestions are always best practices. As we adjust to the necessity of wearing masks, here are some do’s and don’t s to remember when talking to a hard of hearing, deaf or speech impaired person.
Do get the person’s attention prior to beginning the conversation. Do let them know the subject matter. Do use eye contact when talking to them, even on Zoom or Skype. Do use facial expressions; but don’t exaggerate your speech or increase your volume.
Do be patient with them — practice kindness, compassion and empathy. Do repeat/rephrase if they continue to misunderstand, but don’t assume you will need to repeat. Don’t let your frustration get the better of you, this is frustrating for everyone. Do act as natural as possible; use your normal tone of voice. Do try to remove/reduce background noise.
Do write or use gestures (nice ones) or animation (charades) to improve the intention of thought behind what you are trying to convey. Don’t turn away when you speak or talk with your back toward the intended listener. Do realize we all need to learn to adapt and change to new forms of communicating and understanding. Do your best and be your best. Do slow down — no need to hurry now! Do remember you are not alone. We are here to help you communicate better with your loved ones and the rest of the world.
Patricia Larson Shields