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This online course will teach you how to communicate with deaf people

Better Connect Academy
There’s not always one clear way to communicate with people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Depending on the level of hearing loss and communication preferences, some people may prefer sign language while others rely on lip-reading or simply better positioning of the speaker.

To learn about the difference communication methods, one online service called “The Better Connect Academy” offers a one-hour virtual course. I had the chance to take this class. Here’s my review.

Impetus for Taking the Course

Many of us in the deaf and hard of hearing community often strongly wish that the hearing world had just the smallest awareness of how to communicate with us. Hearing people might think they don’t have enough time or money to take a class or that they don’t come into contact with us very often. But these are misconceptions.

Read more: 10 misconceptions about hearing loss 

There are actually a lot of incredibly useful tools and resources in which you can gain more awareness and better communicate with the community without spending a lot of time and money. Additionally, you really never know just when you might come in contact with someone with hearing loss – whether professionally or personally. There’s a lot more of us out there than it can appear. Having even a basic understanding of our community, culture, and communication not only means the world to us but also leads to less frustration, more effective communication, and increased acceptance.

The Better Connect Academy founded by Jean (John) Nalbantian has a basic, online, one-hour, affordable course for hearing people to learn how to communicate with people who have hearing loss. The course also helps businesses achieve ADA compliance.

Read more: U.S. Employment Rights for People with Hearing Loss

Course Highlights

As someone who is hard of hearing and has lived in a hearing world my entire life, the course covered a lot of important topics. Here are some highlights:

    • Patience: Often, hearing individuals can become easily frustrated when someone with hearing loss doesn’t hear them. They don’t understand why or may not even think that the other person may have a hearing loss. We in the community know it can be frustrating; but please know we’re just as frustrated. Patience is key.
    • Alternative communication: People with hearing loss have their own preferred ways of communication. Not everyone speaks, and not everyone signs. We often encounter hearing individuals who can’t communicate with us or don’t understand that we can’t hear them. The course discusses how members of the hearing community can use alternative forms of communication such as writing, email, or gestures.
    • ADA (American Disabilities Act) Compliance: This course allows staff members and businesses to become ADA compliant by increasing awareness and providing effective communication tools in order to provide equal access.
    • What Seems So Natural May Not Be: The course walks through a variety of different scenarios in everyday life that hearing people may not even realize can be incredibly difficult for us. For instance, phoning a doctor’s office, talking behind glass walls or a mask, or not facing someone.
    • Communication Barriers: The course also describes how glass walls, phones, and other factors can serve as barriers to those with hearing loss. There are often barriers to our communication that may not be so obvious or visible.

The Bottom Line

I can’t emphasize how impactful it is for hearing people to gain an understanding of how to communicate with us. When we come across someone in the hearing world, we cannot express our gratitude enough; as we are so accustomed to being chronically misunderstood or invisible.

Read more: How to Learn Sign Language

Taking the time such as through taking this one hour course can be life changing for so many. You may not initially think it can be useful to you but when you’re in the situation of communicating with someone with hearing loss, you’ll be so glad you did. The truth is, even the smallest sprinkle of awareness goes a long way. You don’t need to be fluent in sign language or know everything about Deaf culture to communicate with us; you just have to have patience and give us a chance.

We’re trying hard to understand and communicate with you just as much as you are.  If you’re interested in taking this course or having your employees take it, visit TheBetterConnectAcademy.com.

Danielle Guth
Author Details
Hi, my name is Danielle! I’m an undergraduate psychology student at Penn State University with an immense passion for writing and helping and inspiring others in any way I can. I am an anti-bullying and mental health advocate, blogger, and public speaker through my personal blog and social media campaign, “Compassionately Inspired”. I was born with a severe conductive hearing loss and hope to inspire others both in the hard of hearing and deaf community as well as the hearing community. “Everybody has a story”; that’s my motto and I hope my stories inspire you in one way or another.
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Danielle Guth
Hi, my name is Danielle! I’m an undergraduate psychology student at Penn State University with an immense passion for writing and helping and inspiring others in any way I can. I am an anti-bullying and mental health advocate, blogger, and public speaker through my personal blog and social media campaign, “Compassionately Inspired”. I was born with a severe conductive hearing loss and hope to inspire others both in the hard of hearing and deaf community as well as the hearing community. “Everybody has a story”; that’s my motto and I hope my stories inspire you in one way or another.