The Latest from Lincoln Hearing

Communicating With Someone Who Has a Hearing Loss

Posted in Hearing Health, Tips

Communicating With Someone Who Has a Hearing Loss

Dealing with a hearing loss can be challenging, but what makes it even more difficult is trying to speak with someone who isn’t using good communication techniques. It takes minimal effort to be considerate of someone’s disability and to try and make social situations easier on everyone involved. Hearing loss is common, it is not something to joke about, laugh at, or treat someone as lesser because they have it. Becoming irritated or annoyed at someone for not hearing something causes emotional harm to that person; they can’t help that they have a hearing loss and are most likely trying to come to terms with it and adapt in their own way.

Here are some tips we have compiled for communicating with someone with a hearing loss:

1)     Find a quiet place to speak
Environments with a lot of background noise make it very difficult for a person with hearing loss to understand what it being said to them.

2)     Face the person directly when speaking to them
This makes it easier for them to hear you and read lips if that helps them understand. Try to not conceal your face if possible and stand in a place with good lighting.

3)     Try calling their name or tapping them on the shoulder to get their attention
Do not yell at them, snap your fingers, or clap in their face. That is a very rude way to get anyone’s attention.

4)     Speak slowly and clearly, but also naturally
There is no need to shout but speaking with a natural slightly raised tone can be helpful. Shouting can actually make it harder for the person to understand you, it distorts the speech and makes it more difficult to read lips.

5)     Listen to them
If they tell you how to communicate to make it easier on them, listen and adapt! Or if you’re not sure what you can do, just ask. Most people that have been living with a hearing loss for an extended period know the ways that help them in a social situation. If there are specific accommodations they ask for, don’t roll your eyes and make it out to be a big deal. Chances are what they’re asking are simple adjustments that will become more natural over time.

6)     Be patient!
Be patient with them! Do not get frustrated with the person if they cannot understand you. If they ask you to repeat yourself, try to think how you can rephrase what you were trying to say in a way that would be easier to understand.