Here are some other suggestions to improve communication with people who have hearing loss:
- Ask the person with hearing loss what he or she needs to communicate effectively. If you are unsure whether you are being understood, ask: “Am I speaking clearly?”
- Maintain eye contact and if possible, keep your face well-lit.
- Speak clearly, at a moderate pace and pause slightly between phrases. (People cannot generally ‘read speech’ at the same pace as the talker delivers it.)
- Speak up but don’t shout or over-enunciate, as this contorts the face and can be misinterpreted.
- Match facial expressions to your words.
- Don’t cover your mouth, chew gum or look away.
- Avoid communicating in an area with background noise.
- Get the person’s attention before starting to speak.
- In group settings, ensure only one person speaks at a time.
- Introduce topic changes.
- If necessary, use pen and paper to convey messages.
- Be patient. Communication is a two-way street and the frustrations of hearing loss can be minimized by adopting simple strategies.