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Tips for Communicating with the Hearing Impaired

  • Always face the person when speaking; this provides visual cues to help the individual put the pieces of the conversation together.
  • Get the person’s attention by saying their name first; this allows the person to focus their attention.
  • Do not talk from another room; even if the person is wearing hearing aids, they cannot be guaranteed to hear what is being said. Face-to-face conversing is best.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, but naturally.
  • Acquaint the listener with the topic of conversation, especially when the topic changes.
  • Avoid putting anything in front of your face (hands, paper, etc) and avoid eating, chewing, and smoking, etc., when talking.
  • Minimize background noise whenever possible.
  • If the person is having difficulty understanding what is being said, try to find a different way of saying the same thing, rather than repeating the original words over and over.
  • If the hearing impaired person hears better with one ear or the other, try to remember this when you are positioning yourself while walking, sitting at a table, etc.
  • Insert pauses when speaking; this allows the listener to catch up on the conversation and digest what has been said.
  • Take turns speaking; don’t talk over another speaker. Each person should take turns to avoid confusion.
  • Pay attention to the listener; a puzzled or blank look may indicate misunderstanding.