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.
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.
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|