Tips for a Deaf Accessible Trip to the Hairdressers

Getting your hair cut seems like a simple task for most, but with deafness it can bring up some challenges. Here are some top tips to get the most out of your visit to the hairdressers… and a fabulous haircut!

  1. Research hairdressers

Are there any deaf-aware hairdressers? This is the best option, albeit probably rare as they will have knowledge about deafness.

Are there any hairdressers in your area that you can contact without using the phone? Either email bookings, text messaging facilities, apps, social media or online bookings?

Check out the reviews of the hair salon, are they mostly positive or negative? If it’s mostly positive, that’s the best way as there’s nothing worse than having to deal with an unsatisfactory haircut when communication may already be difficult.

Another option which you may feel more comfortable with are mobile hairdressers who visit your home for your haircut. It may put you more at ease knowing you’re comfortable with your surroundings and would certainly be quieter!

  1. Book an appointment

If they only have a phone contact method, perhaps ask a friend or a family member to call them and ask if they have any alternate ways of getting in touch with the hair salon. If they don’t, perhaps offer some suggestions.

Does the hairdressers offer any quiet appointments? This could be in less busy periods, or evenings where people don’t often get their hair cut. Ask if they have a separate room where you could get your hair cut. This helps with minimising background noise. If there is music playing, you can kindly ask them to turn it down.

For the first appointment, it might be a good idea to book a double slot to allow extra time for communication and gives you a chance to sit down with the hairdresser and chat through things. The hairdresser wants you to feel happy with your appointment so they will work with you to find the best way around things. Once you’re comfortable, you can then book single slot appointments.

  1. Find the style you want!

Look online or through magazines for hair style inspiration. If you find a hair style or colour you like, save the picture for your appointment as it gives the hairdresser a better idea of what you’re looking for.

Why not write down a few things and you can show them, like you want about 2cm off the bottom, a fringe, hair colouring, layers and so on.

  1. To show off or not to show? That is the question!

Do you want to show off your hearing devices with your new haircut? There are some cool hairstyle inspirations that make your devices look like a fashion accessory. It may give you an extra boost of confident to feel prouder about your hearing technologies.

  1. Chat to your hairdresser

The main outcome of a hairdressing appointment is to get the best haircut you need. For this, requires communication between yourself and the hairdresser.

  • Tell them about your hearing loss and communication needs
  • Provide some deaf awareness tips, like facing each other when speaking, if you’ve taken your devices out, you could use your phone to type and talk to each other.
  • If you know some sign language, why not teach them some basic signs? Words like cut, length, colour, different style terms
  • Explain about your hearing technologies that may get in the way of the haircut

Show them certain parts of the haircut where communication may be difficult, for example:

  • Taking your devices off if water is involved or if they keep knocking it while cutting your hair
  • When hair is moved in front of your face for cutting but it means you can’t see!
  • If they have a mirror in front of you this is great as you can see them, but it might be more difficult lipreading a mirrored reflection, so perhaps discuss everything face to face first before the haircut begins
  1. Missing out on the gossip?

It can feel sometimes awkward when everyone’s chatting away during a hair appointment and you might be sitting there in silence. I suggest taking a magazine to read or watch something on your phone, it will take the time away and most importantly it’s a time for you to relax and switch off. Don’t worry about everyone else around you, enjoy it!

  1. Feedback is great!

After your haircut, it’s a good opportunity to give the hairdresser some feedback. Don’t be afraid to say, it helps them to learn.

Perhaps they could provide alternative contact methods, learn some basic signs, remember to look at you more when they speak… or maybe everything was great and you should tell them that, it will make them feel more positive about it too.

If you have any tips you’d like to share, please comment below!