Differences are common causes of misunderstandings between people in romantic relationships. Because of the diversity of perspectives, it sometimes becomes difficult for two people to reconcile. It has triggered failed marriages, broken families, and even unsuccessful dating attempts.
If people who had no physical disabilities have these difficulties, then all the more are these challenges apparent for the differently-abled ones, for instance, deaf people. They are not able to appreciate sounds and music the same way that hearing people do. It gets difficult to communicate even with the closest people because some things are always easier said than done.
Should you get to find love in the person of someone with hearing disabilities, you have to be ready to understand them in many different ways. Here are five things to take note when dating a deaf person:
- Know A Bit About Sign Language
Sign language is a way to communicate using the movement of the hands, facial expressions, and gestures to create signs that convey specific messages.
Two made sign languages are common: the American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL). These are distinct from spoken languages and not mere translations. They also vary depending on the location. It pays to determine which system is used by your date for you to communicate properly. Francois Grosjean Ph.D. say that “learners of ASL become accustomed to signing and speaking at the same time when using sign language, that is they produce a sign and whisper its English translation equivalent.”
- Be Sensitive, But Not Too Much
People who have no hearing problems admittedly find it difficult to be acquainted with the struggles of the deaf. Be sensitive about the small things such as making sure to get the attention of your date before starting a conversation or making sure that multiple people do not talk at the same time since this confuses them.
However, don’t overdo it to the extent of making them feel incapacitated. Yes, people who have hearing problems are differently-abled, but it never made them less of a person.
“We also need to learn to value our sensitivity and see the potential strength inherent in it. Being highly sensitive often includes being highly empathic toward those close to us. The capacity for empathic responses is a trait that benefits our relationships,” Dianne Grande Ph.D. explains.
- Speak In A Normal Manner
In line with the reminder to not overdo sensitivity, don’t try too hard as well to dramatize speech. Speak naturally with clear and separate words. Give them time for them to understand what you are saying and try to gauge whether both of you are on the same side.
However, you need not shout nor speak too slowly also, as this may distort the way the mouth speaks; thereby making it hard for the deaf person to lipread. Increase only the tone of your voice or reduce the speed of speech when you are asked to do so.
- Make The Proper Gestures
The non-verbal cues play a very crucial role in communicating with a deaf person. Firstly, maintain eye contact with your date. If you have glasses on, take them off. Don’t turn your head while speaking. All these allow the deaf person to focus on what you are saying.
Moreover, make good use of hand and body movements to convey your thoughts better. You may point towards a particular object, hold up something in your hand, or raise your fingers to indicate numbers or any other verbal cues that help boost the communication process.
- Choose A Place That’s Quieter
Wait for the surrounding noise to tone down before starting a conversation on your date. Even better, make sure to identify particular locations with less noise. It disrupts the attention and focus of deaf people.
For instance, a noise like the horns of a car on the road or drilling of equipment may be shunned as background noise for those who can hear. However, they can turn out to be distracting for the deaf.
Communication barriers are present, with or without hearing difficulties. While it takes patience and understanding to adjust to a relationship with a deaf person, it does not differ much with the adjustment that is required in relationships when both people can hear. “So-called disabled people are far more like us “normal” folk that most think,” Jim Taylor Ph.D. wrote.
For instance, accepting a person’s flaws, staying by their side during the most challenging moments, and loving their imperfections – these are important in all relationships, regardless of physical capacity, because ultimately, love is a universal and all-encompassing feeling we all know and desire.