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Having worked at a school for many years, you can certainly attest to how people communicate when they are learning how to speak a second language. Some people smile, others make hand gestures, while others laugh, shout, or giggle.
Ask any office worker and they will tell you that they really need to learn how to communicate with those whose first language is not English. Ask most people and they will tell you that they need to learn how to effectively communicate with those who are hard of hearing.
Some people communicate better visually while others do it more effectively through the audio process. For those who are hard of hearing, the choice practically comes down to the visual way; in the same way that it is for those blind who are most effective using the audio way. These are two very important things to know.
We as a society need to be more aware of how persons who are deaf communicate. We need to pay more attention to how they interact in a mainstream environment so that the next time someone is called upon to do a task for a deaf person, they will be ready to provide the appropriate type of service.
Deafness can affect anyone and at any time. It can be either a gradual process or may be a sudden affliction. It could easily affect one of your favorite actors, one of your best hockey players, a friendly salesman, or even your favourite co-worker for example. It can creep into your life at any time. Your baby can be affected at birth. Your teen can suddenly lose their hearing, or your friend can find themselves not being able to hear things anymore.
It never hurts to be prepared. Chances are that you may never have to deal with this eventuality but one never knows. It is also a good way to think of it like this: You will always be ready to either be an information provider or someone who can help.
Use the Internet to gather your research. Visit those websites that can point you in the right direction and talk to others as well. There is a plethora of resources for you to take advantage of. There is absolutely no need to say that you did not know. So there you are.