Tips for communication
By following the suggestions below, you can communicate much better with someone who has hearing loss.
You can communicate better by: Speaking clearly and naturally
Attracting the listener’s attention before you begin speaking
- Speak in a normal tone of voice. Shouting makes many words hard to understand.
- Don’t slow your speech. Speak at a pace that allows words to be clearly distinguished from one another, but not so slowly that you lose the natural rhythm.
Facing the listener
- Before you begin to speak, be sure the listener knows you want to communicate.
- When speaking to someone with hearing loss, make sure they can clearly see your mouth – especially in noisy environments. Most people have a natural ability to lip read.
- Maintain eye contact while speaking.
Using body language to emphasize your feelings
- Stay within 1-2 meters (4-6 feet) of your listener.
- If the listener can hear better on one side, try to stay on that side.
Repeating and rephrasing if you are misunderstood
- We communicate a lot more than we realize through facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice.
Eliminating or reducing room noise
- If you need to repeat a sentence, try using different words that may be easier to understand.
- If someone with a hearing loss walks in during the middle of a conversation, bring him/her up to speed on the subject.
Use these simple suggestions and you’ll soon find that good communications doesn’t have to be difficult. And remember – a little extra consideration and effort will go a long way towards helping the new wearer to get the best from his or her hearing aid.
- Reduce background noise as much as possible before starting a conversation. TVs, radios, air conditioners and even other people talking can greatly affect a hearing-impaired listener’s understanding.
- In noisy places, speak directly into the listener’s ear at a suitable volume (not too loud).
- Avoid sitting on the sidewalk or near open windows close to traffic. When entering a noisy place such as a restaurant, choose a quiet corner instead of the main seating area.