Dinner Table Syndrome Impact: Lack of Access to Communication

dinner table syndrome impactPeople who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing have many barriers to communication as discussed in our blogs about Dinner Table Syndrome, Home Signs, and understanding lifestyles and upbringings of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Over time, there is a dinner table syndrome impact that can cause a Deaf and Hard of Hearing child or consumer to feel isolated, frustrated, and/or angry. They may also lose self-esteem due to constant rejection.  This is specifically the impact of the dinner table syndrome.

Missed Information: What is Feels Like

The Deaf child or consumer may go through life wondering what will occur or what already occurred due to the lack of communication input.  Often information is missed by the Deaf child or consumer because it is very complicated to keep up. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine the following:

  • putting together a puzzle without all the piecesdinner table syndrome impact puzzle
  • watching a movie but missing the ending
  • constantly feeling like you are walking in on the middle of a conversation and trying to figure out what is going on

These are all stressful events, and over time they are simply exhausting. There is a constant need for balance between inclusion and understanding. Life cannot always stop to reexplain what is happening, but it is not fair to expect a Deaf child or consumer is alright with being left out.

Unintentional Exclusion

Another dinner table syndrome impact is that it is not uncommon that the average “hearing” person does not understand the effects on the Deaf child or consumer. People who can hear are not intentionally excluding Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals from conversations. Many times a hearing person understands everything that is going on. They are not experiencing what is missed and, therefore, are not understanding the impact.

Miss Out in the Workplace

Communication is complicated, and how someone speaks is just as important to what they have said. A Deaf child or consumer may experience frustration.  Also consider how this dinner table syndrome impacts workplace relationships. For example, co-workers interaction with their boss may be based on inter-office gossip or knowledge about the boss’s communication patterns. The Deaf employee misses this vital part of daily work life if they are never provided sign language interpreting services. In turn, this could effect promotions and additional duty assignments.

So be sure to include all Deaf children and consumers in conversation by their preferred mode of equal access to communication. Check out our website for more information on equal access laws.


Additional Resources:

Communication Barriers at the Dinner Table

Tips on How to Interact with D/deaf people


Photo Credit:



MT & Associates | Sign Language Interpreting Practice BBB Business Review