Things to remember when wearing a mask and communicating with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
What can help communication
Wear a mask or face covering with a clear panel where possible.
When wearing a mask:
- always make sure you face the child and have their attention before speaking
- start by making the topic of the conversation as clear as possible
- try to make eye contact where possible
- speak clearly and naturally
- use facial expressions
Some words might be tricky to understand:
- take your time and be patient
- repeat or rephrase what you said if you need to
- if you're stuck, try writing it down
If you're at a safe distance and you feel comfortable doing so, you're allowed to remove your mask so someone with hearing loss can understand you better.
What to avoid when wearing a mask
Never make assumptions about communication preferences. Some children use sign language, some use lipreading. Most children use a combination of approaches.
Make sure there isn't lots of noise in the background. Don't try to talk to a child from across the room.
Avoid standing with your back to a window. This can turn your face into shadow and make you harder to understand.
Try not to speak too slowly, mumble or shout. Don't give up, get frustrated or say “Forget it”.
Don't judge someone accompanying a deaf or hard of hearing person for not wearing a mask.
More information on the Connevans Deaf Equipment website.