Communication is a difficult task for people suffering from hearing loss. People must use good communication strategies to help the hearing impaired understand the dialogue better. Below are some communication tips for interacting with the hearing impaired:
Get the Person’s Attention
Get your listener’s attention first before you start speaking to ensure they won’t miss anything in the conversation. Tap their shoulder or arm to know if they’re ready to listen. If the listener hears better in one ear, position yourself closer to that ear.
Also, pay attention to the communication method used by the hearing impaired person. Some people use fingerspelling and sign language in communicating. Reaching out to them, in the same manner, would be most ideal.
Avoid Mouth Distortions
Directly face the person when you communicate with them. Maintain eye contact. The hearing impaired will rely on your facial expressions and body language. They will depend on lip-reading to understand sound and speech better.
Keep your hands off your face when talking. Likewise, refrain from eating, chewing gum or smoking because you’ll make your speech more difficult for them to understand. Mouth distortions like mustaches will also give your listener a hard time following your conversation.
Talk Naturally and Rephrase When Necessary
Speak normally and make appropriate pauses to give your listener enough time to digest what you said. Talk clearly, slowly but not too slow, and naturally yet distinctly. Avoid shouting or making exaggerated mouth movements. Similarly, bringing your voice to extreme levels will cause your listener to not understand you. Keep your words and sentences simple.
If the person has difficulty comprehending a particular phrase or word the first time, it’s likely they won‘t understand them a second time. Try a different way of interpreting the same thing rather than consistently repeating the original words. Rephrasing is always better than repeating.
Focus on the Topic
Acquaint your listener about the topic of the discussion before providing further details. It will make them aware of the information that will follow. Carefully asking if the person understands you is a good way to know if they‘re able to process your message. A puzzled look indicates a misunderstanding.
Don’t interrupt other speakers in a group conversation. Take turns talking to prevent the listener from confusion. For specific information provided, let them repeat the accurate details. Avoid unannounced change of topics.
Converse in Quiet Areas with Good Lighting
When talking to people with hearing disorders, avoid situations and locations with loud sounds. Eliminate unnecessary noises from house appliances during your conversation. When going to a restaurant, pick a quiet place where you’re far from the majority of gathering people. Background noises will interfere with your speech making it hard for your listener to hear or understand you.
Good lighting is appropriate in talking to people with hearing loss. Position yourself where the light directly shines on your face and not from behind you nor in your listener’s eyes. Avoid intense light from behind you. Proper lighting will help your listener trace your lips better.
Providing pertinent information such as in writing, texting, or using visual media will also help your listener understand the information relayed to him better. Likewise, enrolling in aural rehabilitation classes with your hearing impaired spouse or friend will improve your chances of understanding each other better.
Talking to a person with hearing loss is not easy. But with these helpful tips, along with your understanding and patience, you’ll make the burden easier for them to handle and achieve successful communication. For more information and advice regarding hearing loss, call Beltone DFW at (888) 958-8432 today!