Barriers to Communication – Part II
We recently posted the first part of our friend and customer Markinsutton‘s recent blog post discussing the barriers to communication he has faced and now we’re back with the second and final part. We left the final part where Mark had talked us through the difficulties he has faced with spoken and written language…
“With just touching on those two topics of communication I want to highlight a few more barriers. Some are linked to what I have just written so sorry if I repeat myself. As I have said I have a hearing loss and this presents a problem. People can’t see deafness or the understanding just how confusing it is for me and others to have to try and process the sounds we have heard into a sentence, and then translate that into a reply. Even those who know me best and have a great understanding of deafness I found to be the worse to construct sentences that I will be able to understand at the correct pitch, volume and tone. Putting too much into a sentence leaves me confused and having to ask again as I am still trying to process the first part of the speech before being able to process the second part. It’s not that I haven’t heard them just I cannot concentrate that long to take in all the information, like I have said speech is a complex language structure and having the ability to understand that when you have a hearing loss just makes it so much harder. There are many factors that can affect this. The environment is the main one for me. This is the case for most people with a hearing loss or not. Try and listen to a conversation when you have a lot of background noise or lots going on around you, It’s very difficult.
This brings me onto a form of communication I have found to be fairly affective for me but presents so many barriers it not as good as it could be. That is the ability to use sign language. Sign Language is very expressive and personally I feel has a much simpler grammar structure to it than spoken or written language. The barriers become known when there is no one who can sign around you. The ability to form the hand shapes for you to form the complex signs. My motor skills are very poor I prefer to watch sign language more than sign myself as it gives me a much simpler view to what has been said to me. There is also the normal barriers of having the ability to see the person also understanding their own ability to sign. Unless you get a professional interpreter sometimes it’s very hard to follow someone who is using sign language as mistakes are common. The other part of using sign language over other forms of communication is the heighten awareness of gesture and facial expression.
Body language is one of the most true forms of communication I find as people say so much with their bodies and don’t even realize it. This presents a whole new barrier as it is very confusing to see someone say one thing and then say a different thing with their body. People often lie with what they say but find it very hard to lie with their body and facial expressions give it away. I use this a lot but it leaves me feeling confused and isolated as I don’t know if what I have heard is what the person is saying are the same thing. 90% of my work is working with people who have little or no verbal speech and little or no hearing. Not having the ability to understand grammar and English they us gesture and facial expressions to communicate their needs and wants. I have found my best conversations have been with these people who use this form of communication that demonstrates to me the more complex you make communication the less effective it becomes..
Mark makes some fantastic comments and we particularly want to reiterate his concluding comment “the more complex you make communication the less effective it becomes” and this why, at Trabasack, we are committed to supporting and advocating accessible technology, design for all concepts and we thank Mark for allowing us to share his post.