10 Tips for communicating with the hearing impaired
1. Call to attention. When starting a conversation, say the person's
name, and wait for a response.
2. Speak clearly. Also, resist the temptation to speak too quickly,
and pause between sentences.
3. Maximize visual cues. Allow the listener to see your face while
you speak. make sure the lighting is good, but not shining in the
listener's face. Don't put objects, such as gum or cigarettes,
into your mouth while talking.
4. Don't shout! To a person with hearing difficulties, shouting can
distort critical elements of speech.
5. Rephrase, not repeat: Certain speech sounds, especially
consonants, may be more difficult for a hearing-impaired person
to distinguish. Repeating them will only cause frustration.
6. Get away from background noise. Everyday sound sources, such as
a TV or dish-washer, can compete with- even drown-out conver-
7. Provide topic alerts. Tell the hearing-impaired listener when
the topic of conversation has changed.
8. Be inclusive. While it may be easier to 'talk around' a hearing
problem (e.g. asking Uncle Mark about Aunt Mary while she's
standing right there), this only serves to marginalize the
9. Relax. Hearing-impaired people tend to have difficulty hearing
speakers who are tense, negative or impatient.
10. Just ask. Don't be afraid to inquire about what you can do to
make listening easier for your friend or loved one.