10 Communication Strategies
1) Face the individual with a hearing loss directly
Why? People with a hearing loss benefit from visual cues, and often lip-read and use facial expressions to understand the message.
2) Speak clearly and slowly, but as naturally as possible. Do not shout or exaggerate mouth movements.
Why? Shouting distorts the sounds of speech. It will make it more difficult for the person with a hearing loss to lip-read and understand what is being said.
3) Speak to the individual with a hearing loss in a well-lit room. The light should be shining on the speaker’s face, not in the eyes of the listener.
Why? Light on the speakers face will allow easier lip-reading. Light shining in the eyes of the listener will make it more difficult for them to speech read.
4) Say the person’s name before engaging in conversation.
Why? The person with a hearing loss will be able to focus their attention on the conversation. It will reduce the likelihood of them missing any important words at the beginning of the conversation because they have been alerted.
5) Avoid speaking rapidly, or using very long and complicated sentences
Why? Slowing down and pausing between sentences allows the listener to process the information. Shorter sentences are easier to understand.
6) Try to speak to the listener in places without background noise (For example, away from the television)
Why? People with a hearing loss have the most difficulty understanding speech in background noise.
7) When providing important information, have the listener repeat back the pertinent information
Why? This confirms to the speaker that the listener understood the message.
8) Acquaint the listener with the topic of the conversation and avoid abrupt changes in conversation.
Why? This will alert them to a new subject, so they can use context cues to decipher the message. Changing topics abruptly can confuse the listener.
9) Try rephrasing a sentence if the listener does not understand, instead of repeating the original sentence over and over.
10) In group situations, ensure that everyone takes turns speaking. Avoid interrupting other speakers.
Why? Everyone speaking at once makes it very difficult for the listener to follow the message. The listener will become confused, unable to hear any of the messages, and will not be able to lip-read.
If you have more questions about communication strategies, feel free to call or email The Hearing Room. We have two hearing clinics located in Oshawa and one hearing clinic located in Stouffville to help serve you better. We hope to hear from you soon!