Interviewing a hearing-impaired person
Nobody is better to tell about the consequences of a hearing loss than a hearing-impaired person. It is obvious that they have much to tell about the personal, social, psychological and economic consequences of having a hearing loss.
On hear-it's web site you can find cases where different hearing-impaired persons tell about their life and the problems they have faced.
In some cases, journalists would like to make an interview themselves. If you do not know any hearing-impaired persons who would participate in an interview, it could be a good idea to contact a national organisation for hearing-impaired persons. They can probably arrange a meeting.
Belowe you will find some general guidelines to follow when you interview a hearing-impaired person. If you follow these guidelines, you can improve the communication and get a better interview.
- The hearing-impaired person must be able to see your face very clearly. Look at each other. Your face must not be in shadow and avoid bright lights and/or windows behind you.
- Talk face to face to each other. Facial expressions and lip movements are important communication factors for the hearing-impaired person. Do not exaggerate your mouth movements etc., speak naturally, but clearly.
- Do not chew chewing gum - or smoke. It makes it more difficult to understand what you are saying.
- Do not cover your mouth.
- Speak clearly - and at a moderate pace. Do not shout or mumble.
- Speak one person at a time.
- Avoid background noise.
- Rephrase to avoid misunderstandings and situations where you are misunderstood. Some words are easier to hear or lip-read than others.
- If you are in doubt, ask the hearing-impaired person for ways in which communication can be improved.