Do you have a friend, family member or co-worker with hearing loss? Here are some helpful tips on how to communicate effectively with people who have a hearing impairement.
- Face the person: Individuals with hearing impairment rely heavily on visual cues to supplement what they hear. Such visual cues include lip-reading and body language. Also, facing the person will allow for your speech to be directed at your communication partner without barriers to decreased/dampen any needed volume.
- Slow down your rate of speech: This might sound familiar, “I can hear you, but I can’t understand you.” Due to their hearing impairment, the auditory message they’re receiving is somewhat garbled. The simple act of slowing down your rate of speech can help enable your communication partner to catch up and decode a somewhat distorted message.
- Rephrase, don’t repeat: “What?”, “Huh?”, and “Beg your pardon?” Individuals with hearing impairment frequently need to ask for clarification. Sometimes, simply repeating what you say is not going to help. Instead, rephrase what you said. Sometimes, the individual will catch parts of what you said the first time, and by hearing the message rephrased, they can put the pieces together.
- Make sure your mouth is visible: Situate yourself in a well-lit area. Avoid talking with food or gum in your mouth. Avoid turning your head or covering your mouth when you speak. In some cases, even a beard can make lip-reading a challenge!
Our office has 3 Doctors of Audiology on staff. We offer a free Communications Needs Assessment appointment where they will review this information and so much more with the hearing impaired patient and their family members. Please call us for an appointment if we can be of assistance to you, a family member or a friend.