When someone suffers from hearing, it is difficult (and frustrating) for them to communicate effectively with others. While there are a variety of assistive devices available to make sound louder, it is most important that proper communication techniques be practiced in order to maximize hearing and listening performance. Here are some tips you can use when talking with someone who has a hearing problem.
Useful Tips When Talking to Someone with Hearing Loss
Get Their Attention
Get the listener's attention before speaking. Give them a topic related to the conversation so they have a better understanding of what to expect.
Reduce Background Noise
Try to eliminate as much background noise as possible. During conversations, turn off the radio or television. When you are in restaurants and social gatherings, choose seats or conversation areas away from crowded or noisy areas.
Speak One at a Time
Try to make sure only one person talks at a time. Include people with hearing loss in the conversation, but don't talk over other people.
Face the person and talk clearly. Speak at a reasonable speed. Do not hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum.
Speak a little more loudly than normal, but don't shout. Try to annunciate your words clearly and be conscious of the volume of your voice.
It is not uncommon for a person with hearing loss to shake their head as though they understand what you've said. Ask them if the got the information and if necessary, repeat yourself.
Rephrase your statement into shorter, simpler sentences if it appears you are not being understood.
Have Good Lighting
Stand in good lighting, use facial expressions and look at the person's face while speaking. Even if the individual with hearing loss never studied lip-reading, they can gain a great deal of information looking at the speakers face and body language.
If you feel frustrated trying to speak to someone with a hearing loss, think for a minute how it must be for them. Try to make it easier by changing words or re-phrasing statements.
As much as you want the person with hearing loss to hear what you have to say, they want to be able to listen, understand and participate. Coping with hearing loss requires cooperative efforts. If you think someone you love has a hearing problem, suggest they see a doctor for a hearing test.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is one of the Institutes that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and focuses on the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and deafness.