For conversations to be successful, participants need a considerable amount of energy and patience. And good communication helps make relationships more meaningful and long-lasting.
It naturally follows that conversations can be more challenging for people with hearing loss. Because of this, more effort and consideration should be given by those around them. If your loved one, friend, or colleague has hearing loss, follow our tips below so you can effectively communicate with them.
Environment of Conversation
To make conversing with a person with hearing loss more manageable, it is best to set up or maintain environments where communication can work better for them. Here are a few reminders you can keep in mind:
- Remember that people with hearing impairments rely on facial expressions and body gestures to communicate, so ensure ample lighting in the room. When planning meetups over meals, choose a restaurant with great lighting, or pick a time that isn’t too dark outside.
- Locations with minimal background noise are ideal for people with hearing loss. When meeting with a loved one or colleague, turn off TVs, radios, or other sources of noise.
- Establish a group setting where the person with hearing loss can see everybody’s faces. Sitting at a round table is one way to help them better communicate with everyone in the group.
Dos and Don’ts of Conversing
- Do get the person’s attention by waving at them or gently tapping them on the arm before starting a conversation.
- Do sit close to the person but not too close that they can not focus on lip reading and maintaining eye contact.
- Do speak slowly but clearly.
- Do speak with a normal voice volume, as speaking loudly can sometimes distort the words to a person with hearing impairment.
- Do use short sentences and simple phrases when talking to people with hearing loss.
- Do not cover your mouth or talk while yawning or chewing. Doing any of these makes it hard for people who rely on American Sign Language and lip-reading to communicate.
- Do speak more toward their left or right side if they hear better in a specific ear.
- Do not speak while your back is turned to the person with a hearing condition.
- Do not speak over each other in a group setting.
- Do pay attention to the person’s expressions and gestures. They often feel hesitant to clarify details, so always ask them if they understand what you are saying.
- Do write down details for them, such as times and addresses, to ensure they don’t miss important information.
- Do spell tricky words since many consonants sound the same to people with hearing loss. This helps avoid any misunderstandings.
- Do not talk about the person with a hearing condition as if they are not there with you.
- Do use gestures to supplement what you want to say to the person.
- Do transfer to a different location if the environment is not conducive for speaking.
People with hearing loss conditions also need to communicate with those around them so they can form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. You can help make this happen by following our simple tips above to facilitate better and more productive conversations.
If you or someone you know needs hearing care solutions, turn to Hear More Associates. We are the most trusted hearing care specialists for patients throughout Lexington and Greater Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Take our free hearing test today.