Communicating With Hearing Loss
Communicating well is an art form. Knowing when to pause, listen and laugh are all skills we learn as we age. But do you know the finer points of how to communicate well with someone who has hearing loss? Many people in Thousand Oaks end up simply talking louder, incorrectly assuming that that will help their conversation partner hear them better.
10 Tips: Communicating Better With Hearing Impaired Individuals
Below you’ll find 10 tips to help you have a better and more productive conversation with a hearing impaired individual.
- Maintain eye contact with the hearing impaired individual, facing them directly. Do not attempt to hold a conversation from another room; visual cues are an important component of successful communication.
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before beginning a conversation. It helps to state their name so they are aware you are addressing them, and can focus on your words.
- Speak slowly and concisely. Resist the temptation to shout, which can lead to distorted speech and make your words more difficult to understand. Pause between sentences to ensure what you are saying is understood.
- 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. Not only is it rude to talk with your mouth full, it can make your words much harder to understand.
- Try to find a quiet area free of background noise. This can be distracting and cause the hearing impaired individual to miss out on much of what you are saying.
- Repeat yourself if necessary. Try using a different word or rephrasing your sentence if it is too confusing. Refrain from complex words and phrases.
- Supplement your conversation by writing down important information. This might include jotting down the topic you will be discussing beforehand.
- Pay attention to the listener. If they look confused, offer to clarify what you have just said.
- Remember, communication is a two-way street. Give the other person a chance to speak, and do not interrupt.
A common side effect of hearing loss is feelings of isolation. Familiarizing yourself with these above tips can give you the tools you need to help keep an individual with hearing loss feel included in the conversation.