Communicating with a person who has a hearing loss can be stressful for both parties. Even if a hearing device is used, problems still arise. Proper communication strategies are essential for maximizing the experience.
Try the following tips when communicating with a hearing impaired individual.
Make sure you have their attention before starting a conversation. You may find it helpful to state their name so they are aware you are addressing them.
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.
Maintain eye contact and face them directly. Do not attempt to hold a conversation from another room; visual cues are an important component of successful communication.
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, as well.
Find a quiet area free of background noise. Background noise can be distracting and cause the hearing impaired individual to miss out on much of what you are saying.
Repeat yourself if necessary. Try rephrasing your sentence or using different words if it is too confusing. Don’t use complex words and phrases unless necessary.
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.
Call Audiology Center Northwest at (503) 232-1845 for more information or to schedule an appointment.