As a REALTOR®, when working with a deaf, or a hard-of-hearing client, there are things you should keep top-of-mind. We’ve created some helpful tips to make your services accessible as a REALTOR® when working with a deaf, or hard-of-hearing client.
- Ask the clients what communication method they prefer. Not all deaf people and hard of hearing people are the same; you cannot assume you know how they can, or choose to, communicate.
- There are American Sign Language (ASL), Signed English (SEE) and Cued Speech interpreters, as well as interpreters for the deaf/blind. You will need to know which kind is required before contacting the interpreting agency to hire an interpreter.
- Face the deaf or hard-of-hearing person directly, on the same level, and in good light when possible. Purchasing a clear face shield may help.
- A deaf/hard-of-hearing person will rely on vision, and you need to consider that when setting up a location.
- Try to remember to not speak from another room.
- Speak, slowly, distinctly, but naturally.
- Say the person’s name before starting the conversation. This will give the person a chance to focus attention.
- If the hearing-impaired listener hears better in one ear than the other, try to make a point of remembering which ear is better and position yourself to make it easier for the hearing-impaired person.
- When there is significant noise in the background, the deaf or hearing-impaired have a more incredible difficulty understanding speech when noise is in the background.
- If you need to provide important information, consider putting it in writing, but if giving vocally, give directions more than once.
If you are focusing on working with deaf clients, the Department of Justice has a page dedicated to what businesses must do to provide effective communication under the Americans with Disabilities Act.