Ah, deaf-initions. Deaf-friendliness can mean different things to different people. Some perceive it emotionally, such as effortless empathy from hearing people who intuitively know how to meet our needs. Others see it as a technologically, such as an apartment retrofitted with blinking strobe lights – or a theatre with subtitle glasses or Rear Window® captioning.
As a bare minimum, deaf-friendliness includes eye contact, clear speech, willingness to use pen and paper, and tons of patience. Whatever individual perceptions are, deaf-friendliness is not something businesses can afford to skimp on.
According to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Not providing a deaf-friendly environment translates to neglecting nearly 10% of the population.