Have you ever wondered how a deaf person and a person who is blind or has low vision communicate with each other? Depending on a person's particular hearing or vision loss there's actually many different ways that they can communicate effectively. Check out the list below!
One of the easiest ways to communicate is through technology such as a smart phone or laptop. A deaf person can type out what they want to say and a person who is blind or has low vision can use a screen reader to read the text out loud. A blind person can also use voice recognition software to convert what they are saying in to text so that a person who is Deaf can then read it. VoiceOver is an accessibility feature which can be used on iPhones for people who are blind or have low vision to describe what is displayed on the screen.
If a sign language interpreter is available, this facilitates easy communication if the person who is deaf is fluent in sign language. The deaf person and person who is blind can communicate with each other via the interpreter. The deaf person can use sign language and the interpreter can speak what has been said to the person who is blind and then translate anything spoken by the blind person into sign language for the deaf person.
Tactile Sign Language
Tactile Sign Language is often used by people who are Deafblind, but can also be used in communication between a Deaf person and a person who is blind or has low vision. Unlike other sign languages, Tactile Sign Language does not rely on visuals but instead on touch. There are a few kinds of tactile signing including hand-over-hand, tracking and fingerspelling.
Sign Language and Speaking
If the person that is blind or has low vision knows sign language, this is a great way for them to communicate with a Deaf person who also knows sign language. However, this option depends on whether the person who is Deaf is oral and whether they would like to speak. With this option, the person who is blind would use sign language and then the deaf person would respond with speech.
Depending on the deaf person's level of hearing loss, they may be able to communicate with a blind person who is using speech. For example, a deaf person may have enough residual hearing (with or without the use of an assistive hearing device such as a hearing aid) to be able to decipher the speech of the person who is blind or has low vision. However, this is often not the most effective form of communication, as it is very dependent on the individual circumstances of both people and their environment (for example, some places may have too much background noise).