14 Tips on Speaking to a Person with Hearing Loss
Posted by Casandra Lee in Hearing Aid Lifestyle
If your loved one is hard of hearing, it may be frustrating to communicate with them at times. The person with hearing loss can help the situation by wearing hearing aids and using active listening strategies. Then, you can improve communication from your end by following these 14 tips:
- Face the hearing-impaired person and make eye contact. Try to position yourself so the light is behind the listener rather than shining in their eyes. This ensures a clear view of your facial expressions, lip movements, and body language, all of which convey meaning.
- Avoid yelling from the other room. If the person with hearing loss can’t see you, they’ll have a harder time understanding.
- Speak slowly, clearly, and distinctly. Avoid shouting or exaggerating your mouth movements to avoid distorting your words or making lipreading more difficult.
- Get the person’s attention before you start talking. You might say their name or touch them lightly on the hand or shoulder to signal that you want to talk.
- Use simple sentences and pause between phrases to make sure you’re understood before continuing.
- Keep your hands away from your face while talking, and avoid having conversations while eating, chewing gum, or smoking.
- Position yourself near the listener’s good ear, if applicable.
- Minimize background noise by turning off the radio or TV. If needed, move to a quiet space. When eating out, ask to be seated at a table far from the kitchen, server stations, or large parties.
- When in group settings, take turns speaking to avoid talking over each other.
- Rephrase your sentence rather than repeating the exact words over and over if the listener has difficulty understanding you.
- Stay on topic. If you do change the subject, tell the person what you want to talk about next.
- Ask the listener to repeat back what they heard when you’re conveying important times, places, or phone numbers. Consider writing this information down instead of relying on the person’s ability to hear you correctly.
- Watch for nonverbal cues that indicate confusion. If the listener has a puzzled look, tactfully ask if they understood or need you to repeat yourself. They may hesitate to ask for clarification after already doing so several times during this conversation.
- Text your loved one rather than talking on the phone. Even if you’re in the same room, you can use a speech-to-text app on your phone to communicate more quickly than writing things down.