5 Tips for Dating A Deaf Person
Relationships are all about communication. So, what happens when you and your date communicate differently? In most cases, a few simple considerations are all you need to bridge any gap in understanding, which is why we’ve put together a few simple tips to help you prepare for your first date with a deaf or hard of hearing person.
Check out these quick tips for navigating dating and deafness.
Pick a Well-Lit Place
Many deaf and hard of hearing individuals depend upon lip reading to communicate. The better the lighting at your destination, the more likely it is that your date will be able to understand what you are saying. The key to any good relationship is good communication, so don’t add unnecessary difficulty to your evening by picking a dimly lit venue that makes communicating more difficult than necessary.
Learn How Your Date Communicates
While many deaf and hard of hearing people are able to read lips or speak sign language, it’s never appropriate to assume that your date can do either. Before you go out, take some steps to make communication as easy as possible. Learn how they generally prefer to communicate with hearing people, and make sure that you are catering to that type of communication—whether it’s through lip-reading, sign language or some other method.
Don’t Focus on Their Hearing Loss
While it may be tempting to ask your date about their hearing loss, this does not make for great date conversation. Deaf and hard of hearing people are no different than hearing people, and their hearing loss is only one part of their story. Get to know them, ask them about their interests and passions. If they bring up their hearing loss, then feel free to naturally transition to that conversation but, otherwise, steer clear.
Learn A Little Sign Language
While sign language may not be universal in the deaf community, it is incredibly common. If you are planning a date with someone who speaks sign language, learning a few key phrases can be a sweet gesture that will improve your communication and make your conversation a bit more natural. Not sure where to start? Try learning simple phrases such as “yes,” “no,” “tell me about yourself” and “you look nice tonight.” You don’t need to master the language, but making an effort to speak to your date in their preferred language is a great way to show you care.
As a hearing person, dating someone who is deaf or hard of hearing come with a bit of a learning curve. While it may be different from other dates you’ve been on, don’t let the learning curve stop you or make you nervous. By simply being yourself and doing your best to communicate with your date in a way that works for them, you can get to know each other better and have a nice evening in the process.