Communication Tips

Communicating with someone who has hearing loss, even if they use an aid, can be challenging. Below are a few tips that can make the conversation flow easier.

When starting a conversation, say the individual’s name. This will get their attention so they know you are addressing them. Speak slowly and at a normal volume; resist the urge to shout as this can make your words even more difficult to understand. If you pause between sentences it gives you an opportunity to make sure the previous sentence was understood before continuing. It may be necessary for you to repeat what you just said, and if they still cannot understand, try rephrasing. If possible, find an area free of background noise to have a conversation. Background noise can be distracting and can cause the individual to miss what you are saying.

communication tips Central FloridaVisual cues can help the conversation just as much as audio ones. Do not try to have a conversation from a different room; instead, face the individual and maintain eye contact. Since many individuals with hearing loss rely on lip reading to help fill in gaps in conversation, it is important not to cover your face with your hands or an object. Avoid eating or drinking while talking, as this can make it harder for them to read your lips.

Pay attention to what the listener says and how they act. Their body language will tell you if they understood what you just said; if they look confused try to clarify. Make sure you give them a chance to speak; a conversation is a two-way street, after all.