THE LAW OF T.H.A.C.
David M. Harrison © 2011
The Law of T.H.A.C., developed for hard of hearing people, means total Hearing Accessible Communication. When you enter a HEAR NOW room the dynamics of communication changes dramatically. These guidelines were designed for when hard of hearing people are present in a meeting or group situation, in a church situation. Our intention is to establish order and inclusion for all hard of hearing to be part of a group discussion.
1. Be conscious of your own ability to hear and understand the speaker. If you can’t hear what is being said, interrupt the speaker and change course. The FM system may not be turned on or the speaker may not be using the microphone properly. Check the FM unit to see if the recipient is hooked up properly.
2. Befriend everyone. Hard of hearing feel isolated from the hearing world and desire to be included in fellowship with others. Hard of hearing people have few friends and less places to visit where they can see, hear and understand everything spoken. Do not attend these meeting just to get a blessing, but to be a blessing to everyone in the group. Every hard of hearing friend is a member of the HEAR NOW family. Make them feel welcome.
3. Be Compassionate. Show that you care by trying to understand the challenges of hearing loss. Listen to their stories of hardship and struggle to communicate. Hearing people do not seem to care or understand our hearing needs. In this group, we care about everyone personally.
4. Get permission first. When the meeting is in progress get permission to speak. Wait until you have full attention everyone before you speak. Avoid speaking up or interjecting a thought or joke randomly.
5. One person speaks at a time. It becomes confusing when two or more people are speaking at the same time. We can only focus on one speaker at a time. We must hear and see who is speaking and be able to read their lips as well.
6. Never assume that you are being heard. Just because you are talking does not mean everyone can hear you. Speaking before you have full attention means you will only have to repeat yourself. Ask questions like: Can you hear me? Can you see me? Can you understand me? Always use the microphone.
7. Do ridicule or put others down. Hard of hearing make mistakes in communication. They do not have “selective hearing” or hear what they want to hear. Be sensitive and help them get on track.
8. Include everyone at the meeting place. Avoid snubbing anyone. You were a stranger when you first came here. Help all hard of hearing feel like part of the group. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
9. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Never raise your voice or shout. Yelling distorts words and can be painful even to the hard of hearing.
10. Make adjustments with others in speaking. Change your tone of voice or raise or lower your volume as needed. Check to see if everyone can understand you.
11. Use equipment when available. Take advantage of assistive listening devices (ALD’s) when available. Handle these devices carefully as they are expensive. Try different ear pieces and ways of using the FM units or other systems that are available.
12. Avoid stigmatization. Hard of hearing may stop attending meetings if they face name calling or put downs.
13. Be an encourager and advocate for hearing accessibility. Peer mentoring will be the main focus for this ministry. Hear Now is a unique support group of people who care for one another. “Together Everyone Accomplishes More” for the glory of God. We must band together as missionary Ambassadors to the Hard of Hearing.
14. We need to teach, practice and advocate the LAW of T.H.A.C. at all times in every meeting. We need to be committed to the cause of hearing accessibility in every area of the church.
LET MY PEOPLE HEAR!
P.O. 3021 Chattanooga TN 37404 423-624-1669 firstname.lastname@example.org