Extra effort is needed to get the attention of a person who suffers from partial or complete hearing loss.
Whether you intend to have a conversation with them or just want to call their attention to something, there are many ways you can get their attention without appearing rude or offensive.
The way you easily get the attention of a hearing person through verbal communication is quite different from how you get that of a deaf person.
If you go about calling a person who is suffering from hearing impairment in the wrong manner, it might make you appear rude or disrespectful. This article has been written to specifically guide you on how to get the attention of a deaf person without appearing offensive or impolite.
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider before Getting the Attention of a Deaf Person
- How to Get the Attention of a Deaf Person
- How Not to Get a Deaf Person’s Attention
Things to Consider before Getting the Attention of a Deaf Person
You must consider the environment to get a deaf person’s attention.
A noisy or crowded place might make it difficult to get their attention unless you’re close to them. This way, you can gently give them a tap.
Related: 10 Ways to communicate with a Deaf Person without Sign Language
The best way to get the attention of a deaf person is to walk up to them. They might not notice you if you are miles apart.
Calling them or waving at them from afar like you would do a hearing person might be an exercise in futility because they will not be able to hear you.
You’ll not likely get the attention of a deaf person at nighttime if the place is dark. Ensure that the room is well-illuminated to enable them to see you.
How to Get the Attention of a Deaf Person
Below are the various methods to achieve this.
Note that the techniques are relative; they depend on the situation of things and the kind of relationship you have with the person.
Related: This Is How a Deaf Person Can Drive
1. Gentle tap
A gentle or light tap on the deaf person’s shoulder, hand, or arm is good for getting their attention.
Once you tap them lightly and respectfully, you’ll get their full attention even if you’re about to meet them for the first time.
However, this can only be done if you are close enough to touch them.
2. Move to their visual field
In a situation where you’re a few miles apart, the best way to get the attention of a deaf person is by moving to their visual field.
They won’t be able to see you if you’re backing them. So, being at their visual field while waving at them simultaneously will make them see you faster.
3. Flickering the light
You can flicker the light switch in the room to get the deaf person’s attention.
This is particularly important if their back is turned towards you or when you’re about to address many people who suffer from hearing impairment.
4. Sending a hearing person
If you’re not close to the deaf person due to both of you being a few distances apart, you can call the attention of a hearing person who is closer to help you get the deaf person to look at you.
This is a better alternative to yelling out loud with the hope that the deaf person might hear you.
If the hearing person is a stranger, tell them about the condition of the person you want them to call and tell them to gently tap the deaf person.
5. Hitting the table
If you’re sitting with a deaf person and have a table in front of you, gently hit or tap the table severally to get their attention.
6. Stomping or pounding
When you stomp or pound on the floor, a vibration is released, which sends a signal to the deaf person. This will make them turn around to see or know where the signal is coming from.
This method is, however, more practical on a wooden floor.
7. Text them
If you’re far away from the deaf person and would need to get their attention, a viable alternative is to text them.
Most times, people who suffer from hearing impairment always have their phones at arm’s reach. And the phone is usually set on vibration mode. This enables them to easily know when their phone rings.
Sending them a text message is a practical way to get their attention to something.
Related: How to Take a Deaf Person’s Order
How Not to Get a Deaf Person’s Attention
This is by far one of the poorest ways. Yelling at them is obviously not going to yield any result even if they have a hearing aid on. It’s a wrong approach to attracting the deaf.
2. Grabbing and poking them
If you’re walking behind a deaf person, never grab or poke them from the back to get their attention. Doing this will send a wrong signal to them because they understand such a method to be a call for emergency or that something is terribly wrong.
3. Throwing something
Apart from the fact that throwing an object at a deaf person can be dangerous, it also sends a wrong signal to them.
Even if you’re not strangers to each other, using this method to get their attention will make it seem like you’re being rude or asking for a fight.
4. Shoving or hitting them
Just like throwing an object at a deaf person, shoving or hitting them is equally impolite.
Hence, if you must touch a deaf person to get their attention, do it gently and in a friendly manner.
5. Sending a pet
This is also one of the most improper ways of gaining the attention of the deaf.
Animals can neither talk nor understand sign language, no matter how well they are trained. Therefore, sending a dog or cat to a deaf person to get their attention will most likely yield no result.