Many deaf or hard of hearing people feel isolated during the festive season, especially when they have family and friends who are fully hearing. The communication barriers that often arise during this time can be significant. 

Though there are ways to ensure that the holiday season is one that everyone can enjoy and remember. If you have a deaf or hard of hearing relative, friend or guest during this festive season then these helpful tips will assist in ensuring they feel accepted and included. 

5 quick tips to engage your deaf and hard of hearing guests and family members

1. Involvement

There are many ways to involve those who are deaf or hard of hearing within a group setting. Even if you don’t sign, there are still many other communication options including: 

      • Using visual cues or prompts
      • Tapping the person gently to get their attention and directly interact with them 
      • Use facial expressions and gestures to convey and create a sense of meaning.

2. Ask questions

Don’t just engage in small talk, you’ll be surprised at what you learn or discover when opening up a conversation.

3. Create a comfortable environment

Deaf individuals rely heavily on what they can see and the space they are in to engage and understand conversations. Ensure that the space is well-lit and that there are no distractions or visual barriers. This will enable a communicative environment for all.

4. Educate yourself

It may be useful to enrol in a course or speak with others to learn more about the deaf community. This can allow you to actively engage and involve your guests or family members as much as possible.

4. Engage in deaf-friendly games and activities

 Try to avoid any games that rely on oral cues, instead engage in games that use visual aids or cues. 

The holiday season can be made more enjoyable for the whole family, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by engaging in these tips. Make this festive season a holiday that the whole family will remember and treasure!