Communication Tips

Communication with a person who does not hear well does not have to be difficult. Here are some things you can do that will make communicating easier.

Mother and daughter drinking coffee at homeGain attention

Call the person by name to attract their attention. Or a gentle touch may help. Do not start speaking until the person knows they are being spoken to.

Face to face

Hearing impaired people need to see your face clearly to gain help from facial expression and to speech read. Be sure to face the person, at about a metre away. Avoid shadows on your face e.g. do not stand in front of a window with the light behind you.

Avoid background noise

It is not always possible to avoid background noise, but do reduce or remove it if you can.

Clear speech

Take the time to pronounce your words clearly. Say the beginnings and endings of words well. This automatically slows down your speech, raises the volume and makes speech reading easier.

Get to the point

Knowing the subject matter avoids misunderstandings. Explain briefly what, who, where and how.


Sometimes the key word will continue to be missed. If you are not understood say the same thing in different words. If this does not work, write it down.

Remember, hearing impaired people often smile and nod even when they may not hear correctly. Avoid errors from bluffing and ensure accuracy by asking the person to repeat any important message back to you.

It’s important to understand that a hearing aid does not make a person hear normally. Many people with hearing aids may obtain limited benefit. It will still be necessary to be patient, and to remember to use the suggestions above.

How to make communication easier in difficult listening situations

Communication Tips If you have a hearing loss If you are speaking to a person with a hearing loss
Choose best place to communicate
Avoid noisy background, such as T.V, Stereo

Gain listener’s attention before you speak

Face the listener/s while speaking

Keep your lips, face clear of obstructions

Ensure good lighting on your face

Speak clearly and a little slower

Use gestures, facial expressions

Supplement message by written key words

Tell others about your hearing loss

Face speaker/s while listening

Ask specific questions to get the words you have missed

Share with others how best to talk to you

Provide feedback to the speaker

Share responsibility for effective communication