Sitting Across From Each Other – Deaf and Hearing The most valuable key in the relationship is direct, face-to-face, one-on-one communication and interaction. For between individuals who are deaf and individuals who are hearing, that face-to-face communication is difficult. The reality is it is difficult the majority of the time because of communication barriers. The goal is to experience direct face-to-face communication without communication barriers. By Jason Curry, CEO of sComm Some of you may not know I was born profoundly deaf myself and have been deaf my entire life. I have sat across from thousands of hearing people in endless communication situations. The outcome has been mostly frustrating because of the communication barriers between us. We simply could not communicate in the same way. Usually these conversations to have understanding had to be assisted by an interpreter. I want to share my analogy of what is happening. There continue to be discussions with the deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing community with regard to when interpreters or CART services fit into the environment and the when they should be used in work, medical, educational, and social settings. What is missing from this discussion? There is a need to talk about what solutions are available when the interpreter or CART writer is not present for that one-on-one interaction when the deaf or hard of hearing person is sitting across from a hearing person. Anxiety, Confusion, and Misunderstanding Misunderstandings can happen when an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened sits down across from someone who is hearing, each wanting to communicate. When the communication is relayed through a 3rd party, each person is concerned if the translation is being relayed exactly the way it is being said. There is some anxiety and confusion on the part of both people because no one wants misunderstanding or confusion during communication. And yet there it is difficult to verify the accuracy of the discussion. In most cases, people who are hearing do not have the experience of sitting across from an individual who is deaf and being able to communicate directly when the interpreter or CART writer is not available. Each of us reacts differently and sometimes negatively which impacts the outcome of the relationship. The majority of people who are hearing are unaware of how to communicate independently with someone who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened. For many people, such a discussion is a first time experience. Although each person is willing to communicate, the natural instinct is to communicate directly with each other. After all, that is how people who are hearing communicate with each other. Unfortunately, the outcome usually ends up with anxiety, confusion, and misunderstanding. Still there is a critical need for people who are hearing and people who are deaf to be able to sit across from each other with 100% understanding of what each other is saying without anyone else present. The UbiDuo Communication device meets that need and provides that face-to-face communication. That 100% understanding leads to increased trust and confidence which builds the relationship to the next level. Here’s what’s going on. 100% Direct Face-to-Face Interaction Builds Trust and Confidence Often, when people sit face-to-face, they initiate a conversation with each other. The ability to exchange spoken or signed thoughts to each other allows them to build trust and confidence. When two people are able to communicate without barriers, they can become comfortable working together or interacting together on a personal level. Using the UbiDuo 2, two people can have an independent discussion and be clear when the discussion is complete. It can be as simple as smiling at each other, making healthy eye contact, or a pat on the arm at the end of a meeting. Trust and Confidence is the key to a healthy and positive relationship especially in the work environment. Having clear one-on-one communication encounters leads to a more satisfying working relationship. When it comes to a conversation between a person who is deaf and someone who is hearing, the UbiDuo 2 is the solution which allows them to carry on a conversation with zero anxiety, zero confusion, and full understanding. Each person can be more open and honest, and reach more positive outcomes. Barrier free communication with the UbiDuo 2 causes each person to feel confident in the discussion. Job interviews, doctor appointments, or office meetings generally need to be done in person. The UbiDuo 2 allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened to sit across from someone who is hearing at any time with unlimited communication access. People who hear get unlimited communication access however that has been difficult to achieve for people who are deaf. Since interpreters and Video Remote Interpreting cannot be available on a 24/7/365 basis, the person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or late deafened is at a disadvantage. In general, an interpreter or video remote interpreter is not available about 90% of the time. What then is the solution for the everyday face-to-face communication between people who are hearing and people who are deaf? The UbiDuo 2 can produce many of the benefits of face-to-face interaction between people who are deaf and hearing. It provides the same communication ease that comes between two people who are hearing who are talking or between two people who are deaf who are signing. With the UbiDuo 2, each person is communicating in the same mode with the other. Nothing replaces the ability for two people to sit across from each other and communicate directly without a third party. When that happens everyone benefits. Team Inclusion and Promotion Using the UbiDuo 2, the more the person who is hearing engages in one-on-one conversations and sharing of information with a person who is deaf, the more the team understands how easily everyone can be included in discussions about the work throughout the day. If the team is only able to communicate with the team member who is deaf when the interpreter is available, it disrupts the work flow of the team and limits the immediacy of information sharing. At times, when these one-on-one interactions become routine, it can enable the person who is deaf to have the same opportunities for promotion as others in the work place. Sometimes people who are deaf are hesitant to use the UbiDuo 2 thinking that communication can only be accomplished with an interpreter. Few employers can sit an interpreter next to an employee who is deaf 100% of the time. Everyone benefits when there is openness to utilize the interpreter, CART writer, and the UbiDuo 2. This completes the communication picture making communication available at all times. Moving forward with total inclusion is the goal. What can each person do to communicate when an interpreter is not available 90% of the time? What is the solution for that? The UbiDuo 2 was designed for that sole purpose to cover that gap for nonstop one-on-one interaction in the work environment. Take Action If you are an employer, a hospital, law enforcement agency, university, or a government agency that either serves deaf or hard of hearing clients or patients or has employees who are deaf or hard of hearing, you will elevate your level of one-on-one communication with the UbiDuo 2 communication device. Being totally dependent on an interpreter or CART writer, can compromise your level of communication. The UbiDuo 2 provides you nonstop one-on-one communication between people who are deaf and people who are hearing. The UbiDuo 2 meets ADA compliance requirements. Take action and make your environment compliant with the UbiDuo 2.