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Get a Deaf or hard-of-hearing person’s attention: tap him/her on the shoulder; switch the light on and off, or stomp or pound on a shared surface like a wooden floor, table, bench, etc. Do not initiate a conversation about a person’s hearing loss or deafness. It implies that you view the person as incomplete, broken or inferior.
Ask them to choose the best seating for communication and eliminate background noise when and wherever possible Do not try to correct a Deaf or hard-of-hearing person’s signing or indicate that they don’t sign the way a sign language teacher might
At a Deaf and/or hard-of-hearing social function, allow the Deaf or hard-of-hearing friend you came with or who invited you to introduce you Do not sign or speak when the person is busy with another task or activity
Always use your first and last name (fingerspell) when introducing yourself Do not throw things to get the person’s attention
Talk about any topic you would with your hearing friends Do not rely on an interpreter or CODA (Child of a Deaf Adult) to communicate with the Deaf or hard-of-hearing; take the time to learn basic Sign
Speak in a simple and precise manner. Short and simple sentences are easier to understand. Try to speak normally without adding exaggerated emotions. Do not chew, cover your mouth or face when communicating; mouth movement is an important part of signed communications
Do not shout or exaggerate your body language. It comes across as aggressive
Do not use inappropriate labels. Terms like deaf and dumb, deaf-mute are outdated and extremely offensive. The generally accepted terms are deaf (with a small ‘d’), Deaf (with a capital ‘D’) and hard-of-hearing
Do not break eye contact or ignore people during a conversation. If you have to attend to something, excuse yourself and inform the person
Do not stare at two people signing secretly, they could be having a private conversation
Do not grab or poke when you walk up behind a Deaf or hard-of-hearing person, this usually indicates something is wrong or is an emergency
If you are out for a meal together, do not order for them unless they ask you to