Communicating with Someone who has Hearing Loss

Listener with Hearing Loss Speaker
PROVIDE FEEDBACK: Let people know when you’re not sure of what was said. Nodding your head “yes” when you aren’t sure what was said will get you in trouble! CONFIRM DETAILS: Politely double check that key details of a message (times and places) have been understood.
PAY ATTENTION: You must concentrate more than the person without hearing loss. This can make you tired more quickly. Tell the speaker when you are ready for a break. GET ATTENTION: Because people with hearing loss must concentrate more, it is very helpful if you call their name first before speaking. This will allow the listener to pay attention and turn to face you, both giving you a better chance of success.
OBSERVE: We all lip read to a certain extent. Watch people’s faces and gestures to supplement what you hear. GET CLOSER: Effective communication is enhanced when you are face to face with the listener. This will help them read your lips and other non-­-verbal cues (hand gestures etc).
MAKE SUGGESTIONS: Most people will try to accommodate your hearing loss by talking louder to you. As mentioned above, this doesn’t make it clearer, only louder. Instead of saying “what”, ask people to speak slower or rephrase. SPEAK CLEARLY AND SLOWLY: If you talk a little slower, then you will be more likely to enunciate all the sounds in a word. This will make it clearer for the listener and will give them more time to process information. Don’t shout.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Some situations are too noisy to expect to understand speech – even with hearing aids. NOTICE BACKGROUND NOISE: Try not to have important conversations in very noisy places as it can be very frustrating for the listener. Turn down TVs and radios if they are interfering.

Key Points:

  • Don’t shout! This will only distort important information. Speak clearly and slowly instead.
  • Get the listener’s attention first. They will be prepared to listen and can turn to face you.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • There are many devices that can be used with or without hearing aids to enhance communication (amplified telephones, Infrared TV listeners etc). Please ask if you have a specific need that may be improved with these assistive listening devices.

> Print

We provide a wide range of services to the ears, nose and throat.

View All Our Services