Here are some insights and tips to reduce the gap and help Deaf and hard-of-hearing people feel included, connected and integrated.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing people may ask you more questions than you are used to when you first meet.
The types of question they might ask
When deaf and hard-of-hearing people meet each other for the first time, or when they introduce each other, they will often provide more personal details than a hearing person might.
They always give their first and last names, because there is a higher chance, in a small community, that this will provide information about their family or community connections.
Why it is important
This can be particularly important if they come from a family with several generations of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and considered to be at the core of the Deaf or hard-of-hearing community. They will often add information about their associations with particular places, sporting or cultural organisations, or the school they attended.
As a hearing person
If you cannot volunteer any of these defining characteristics, or if you are a hearing person, you will most likely be asked questions about your connection with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
This introductory information establishes where you ‘fit’ in the community – or to be direct about it as is often the Deaf way, whether or not you are acceptably 'Deaf' (culturally).
The Long Goodbye
Deaf and hard-of-hearing people may take longer than usual to say goodbye at social events.
Why it can take longer
When leaving a gathering of friends deaf and hard-of-hearing people take much longer than most hearing people do to say goodbye.
Customs and arranging future catch ups
The custom is to seek out individual friends and in the process of saying goodbye, discuss when they next expect to meet. Since there are many people to say goodbye to and so many future arrangements (vague or concrete) to make, it takes a long time before the person actually leaves.