Improving Communication

Communication is extremely important to all relationships but a hearing loss can have a profound impact on a person’s desire to interact. Frustration and embarrassment from the inability to communicate may lead to withdrawal from social situations along with feelings of isolation. The following strategies will make communication easier.

Strategies for Friends & Family

Get the listener’s attention before talking. Be patient with hard-of-hearing listeners. Repeat information once then rephrase the message to clarify. Speak clearly and slowly but don’t exaggerate mouth movements. Don’t shout or speak too loudly. Provide the listener with the topic and identify topic changes as needed. Look directly at the person when you speak. Avoid speaking from another room or with your back turned. Encourage guessing. Keep a sense of humor about communication errors. Encourage the listener to use hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. Modify light and seating arrangements if necessary to provide the listener with an unobstructed view. Eliminate or reduce competing noise. Turn off the television or stereo, move away from fans and air conditioners, or seek a quieter room. Make sure only one person talks at a time. Be understanding and caring when someone with a hearing problem asks you to help him/her understand better. Seek additional communication and coping strategies from an audiologist at our clinic.

Strategies for the Person with Hearing Loss

Pay close attention to the face and gestures. Be patient with yourself. Rephrase what you heard to verify information. Ask for repetition only once, then ask the speaker to rephrase. Think of new ways to ask for repetition (other than “Huh?”). Ask for the topic and then verify the topic. Inform speakers about your hearing loss and how they should speak to you. Ask others to look directly at you when they speak, to come closer if necessary, and to speak slowly and slightly louder. Keep a sense of humor about communication errors. Use your hearing aids and other assistive listening devices at theaters and places of worship. Modify light and seating arrangements if necessary to obtain an unobstructed view. Eliminate or reduce competing noise. Turn off the television or stereo, move away from fans and air conditioners, or seek a quieter room. Make sure only one person talks at a time. Be understanding and caring when someone forgets you have a hearing problem. Seek additional communication and coping strategies from an audiologist at our clinic.