Jim Davidson Photo Jim Davidson
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Interacting with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

T In 2005, the SIPP (Survey of Income and Program Participation) reported that 1 in 20 Americans are currently deaf or hard of hearing (with 10 million persons hard of hearing and close to 1 million functionally deaf). More than half of all persons with hearing loss or deafness are 65 years or older and less than 4% are under 18 years of age.Hearing losses range from mild to severe and influence the way a person communicates. People who are deaf do not consider themselves to be disabled, rather, they are a culture. Only 20% can understand lip-reading. American Sign Language is an official language for the deaf. Positive etiquette for persons who have hearing disabilities include the following:

  • If the person is deaf, tap them on the shoulder or arm to get their attention
  • Look at the person rather than the interpreter (if present)
  • Don’t cover your mouth while speaking
  • Speak at a moderate pace. Do not exaggerate your words
  • If an interpreter isn’t available, use pen and paper to communicate
  • Reduce background noises when conversing
  • Call your state relay service to make contact with a person who is deaf and has a TDD or TTY system in their home
    • Speak directly to the relay service operator who will type your words to the person you are calling
  • Provide front row seating for the interpreter and the person who is deaf.
Accessibility Changes
  • Provide a certified sign interpreter for church service or special meetings
  • Purchase assistive listening devices (ALDs) for those who are hard of hearing
Assistive Listening
Assistive Listening
Sign Language Provided
Sign Language Interpreter


Southern Deaf Fellowship
Organized in 2005 as the first deaf church for Seventh-day Adventists and provides sermons in ASL.

Three Angels Deaf Ministry
A nonprofit ministry focused on sharing Jesus with deaf people, nurturing deaf members, and education those who hear about deaf ministry and interacting with deaf people.