Hiking with someone who can't hear may seem like a scary experience at first. You may have concerns about the person's safety, but you have to remember that the individual has likely been living with their hearing loss for a long time and is used to it.
Instead of worrying about the experience, use it as an opportunity to think of unique ways to experience the hike. Keep reading to get inspiration for your upcoming hike!
Look up Signs
If you do not know American Sign Language, look up signs for things that you may see on the hike or some basic communication sings. It is not as hard as you may think, and you can easily find youtube videos that will teach you the basics of American Sign Language.
This will make the person that you are hiking with feel included in the conversation if you are able to communicate with sign language. This is also a good skill for you to have so that you can communicate any dangers that the individual would not be able to hear.
Bring an Interpreter
If the individual you are hiking with has a severe or profound hearing loss, they may have an interpreter that lives with them or assists them in their daily tasks. Ask this person to join you on the hike if you are not fluent in sign language. This is a great way to make the individual who cannot hear feel included in the activity.
Focus on other Senses
While a hearing loss may seem like an extreme deficit, there are others senses that the individual with hearing loss can rely on to experience the world. You should challenge yourself to focus on your other senses as well to experience what the other individual is feeling.
One sense that is easy to focus on while hiking is sight. Take in the vivid colors of a forest will stand out more than before if you are focusing on them more than your other senses. Also, take time to feel the textures of the forest.
Be Aware of Other Challenges for People That Can't Hear
If the individual that cannot hear wears a hearing aid, this can be a challenge when exploring the wilderness. For example, the hearing aid cannot get wet or it will not function properly. Having knowledge of this, you can help the person to avoid any water!
Demonstrate before Doing
Since the person you are hiking with can't hear you, make the experience easier for them by demonstrating what they will need to do. This can be handy if you are crossing rough terrain during the hike or camp.
Overall, it is important to remember that hiking or camping with someone who can't hear can be a great experience for both of you! Remember to bring the right gear and to keep these tips in mind to have a successful hike or camping experience.