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Tips for Communicating with Someone with Hearing Loss

Do you find yourself struggling to communicate with your loved one? Are you finding you are being misheard or have to repeat yourself often? Communicating with someone with hearing loss can be a struggle, it is often our poor communication habits which are to blame.

1. Start with their name

Perhaps the most critical aspect to communication is attention. By starting a sentence with your loved one’s name, you are able to quickly get their attention. This is especially important for those with a hearing loss as they may require more concentration to process speech sounds.

2. Face-to-face is best

Face-to-face communication allows the participants to received additional visual cues. This may include facial expressions, lip reading, and body language. While only a small portion of English language is formed by the lips, we all lip read to an extent.

3. 6 feet apart is ideal

The closer the better when communicating with someone with hearing loss. By shortening the distance between speakers, you shorten the distance the sound waves must travel. The further away, the more those sound waves are able to disperse and distort.

4. Slow down

Speak up and speak clearly. It can be difficult to process conversations if the speaker is talking rapidly or with an unfamiliar accent.

5. Repeat

If they ask you to repeat, try not to get frustrated. Repeat your statement clearly, and face-to-face if possible. If you have repeated you statement several times and they are still struggling, try rephasing your statement. Be patient!

Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of speaking to our loved ones from another room or with our backs turned. These habits may be hard to break, but it can make a huge difference in communication. Know that certain situations may have cause increased difficultly such as when in the car or environments with noisy background. Know that your loved one is not intentionally ignoring or mishearing you, and be patient in conversation.

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Chelsea Devlin, Audiology Assistant

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