Communication Tips

When you have a friend or a family member who has hearing loss, communication can be difficult for both the person with the hearing loss and the person who does not. Even with the usage of hearing devices, there will still be a communication block.

Here are some tips on how to effectively communicate with someone who has a mild to moderate hearing loss:

  • Face the hearing-impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light whenever possible. Position yourself so that the light is shining on the speaker's face, not in the eyes of the listener
  • Do not talk from another room. Not being able to see each other when talking is a common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said
  • Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech reading more difficult
  • Avoid talking too fast or using sentences that are too complex. Slow down, pause between sentences, and wait to make sure you have been understood before moving on
  • A hearing-impaired person has difficulty understanding words or parts of words. Your voice may be audible but separate words may sound blurred. Words that sound similar such as: cat/cap, bread/thread, pool/cool are extremely difficult to distinguish. When your family member does not understand you the first time, repeating the same words may be unhelpful. Consider rephrasing the sentence using different words which may be understood
  • Hearing loss can make it difficult for your family member to judge the volume of his/her own voice because they aren't able to hear themselves. Let your family member know when their voice may be too loud or too soft
  • Do not cover your face with your hands or other objects. Individuals with hearing loss rely on visual cues to help follow the conversation and sometimes find lip reading helpful. Avoid eating and drinking while conversing