How to recognise a deaf person

Sally Paul, a deaf person that runs her own business called Positive Signs, talks about the difficulties of recognising a deaf person.  Deafness is an invisible impairment, like many others, but there are certain ways it can be done.  AccessChamp gives you some ideas.

(Notes to trainer are in blue)

Equipment requiredPC, tablet, or phone, flip chart and pen to write up answers
Number of people involvedUp to 12 people
Suitable forAll members of staff
Time requiredLess than 10 minutes
Time required online1 minute
InstructionShow the video and then go through the following questions and answers.


Question – How can you recognise a deaf person? Discuss

Answer – It is not easy but here are some ways:

  1. Sometimes you can see a hearing aid but it is getting increasingly difficult with the latest models that blend into different skin tones.
  2. Some deaf people may grow their hair longer to make it more difficult to see they have a hearing aid.  Longer hair is a clue.
  3. If you talk to a deaf person they may turn their best ear towards you so that they can hear you better.
  4. They might look puzzled or concerned when you speak to them.
  5. They could ask you to repeat something because they have not heard.
  6. They might try to use their hands to indicate they are deaf or try and communicate with you.


Question – What other invisible impairments are there?  Discuss

Answer – Someone with the early symptoms of an impairment may have no visible outward signs.  There are number of other invisible impairments shown below:

  1. Mental illness.
  2. Some types of amputation, such as lower limbs, may be covered by clothes.
  3. A person with a colostomy bag.  This is someone who has had bowel cancer or other bowel disease and has hard part of their bowel removed and body waste is collected in a colostomy bag.
  4. Debilitating pain.
  5. Epilepsy, fatigue, dizziness, and seizures.
  6. Cognitive dysfunctions.  This is what the MS Society say about this on their website – “ability to learn and remember information: organize, plan, and problem-solve; focus, maintain, and shift attention as necessary; understand and use language; accurately perceive the environment, and perform calculations. Cognitive changes are common in people with MS—approximately 50% of people with MS will develop problems with cognition.”
  7. Learning difficulties.

Invisible disabilities are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild to severe vary from person to person.


You can also view the video on a plain template suitable for use in a chat at