3 Methods of Communicating Individuals with Hearing Loss

woman cupping hand to ear outdoors

One of the best things about the changing world that we're living in now is acceptance and accessibility. We're all making moves to make life easier for those who are unable to hear as well as others and with inclusion being a hot topic, we're also improving communication methods for those dealing with hearing loss. 

While the medical community has miniaturized science down to an art, we are all individually responsible for making space for those who need extra support, and you could be doing your bit with a few simple adjustments to your day-to-day life. 

If you know you can change the way in which you communicate, you're going to ensure that your friends and family members with hearing loss are more at ease with you. It doesn't take too much to make this happen, but with adjustment, education and acceptance, you can make room for others to thrive, too.

If your friend or relative is hearing impaired, it can help you to take the information their audiologist gave them and make it apply to you and how you treat them. There are those out there that don't realize that they have any level of hearing loss at all, and it's these people that need to speak to an audiologist right away.

If you can help those who are unable to communicate as much because of hearing loss, then you should. They will already be working harder to be involved in the conversation, and you could make their lives simpler. So, how can you communicate better with those who are hearing impaired? We've got three ways you can do it. 

Face-to-face communication tips

The first thing to consider when you are communicating with someone with a hearing impairment is how you communicate with them at all. You want to be able to facilitate the best conversations, as this will help them to understand you and help you to stay involved. 

  • Sit close or stand close together so that they can hear what you are saying, read your lips and feel as if your attention is on them throughout the conversation. 
  • Ask which ear they would prefer you to talk towards – they may hear better out of one ear.
  • Get their attention with a hand on the arm or saying their name so that they can hear you. 
  • Don't shout at them; they're not dumb, they just have some hearing loss.
  • Make sure that your mouth is visible, so keep your hands down.

Environmental communication tips

While you're considering your ability to talk face to face, you must also think about where you're having this conversation. The environment really does matter and if you are arranging to meet, be careful where you base your next conversation.

  • Choose a place that's quieter in the background. Coffee shops might not be conducive to good conversation as the background noise is too much. If you want to be in a restaurant, ask for a booth or a corner table. This will dull the surrounding noise. 
  • Choose a place with good lighting. If your friend or family member can see your face, they will see your emotions and the way your mouth is moving.
  • Sit in a way that your friend can see you. Choosing how to sit is important. You want your friend to see you clearly. 

Fixing your mistakes

Lastly, a part of communication is in fixing your mistakes when you are talking to others. There will be times where miscommunications happen, and you can navigate these easily.

Speak slowly, but not in a way that assumes they're stupid. Ensure that you open your mouth more and don't mumble while you're talking and you'll really see a difference in the way your words are received.

  • Rephrase where you need to, but don't repeat yourself. Repeating yourself can come off as patronizing, and if you can avoid that, all the better!
  • Speak at your usual volume. If you talk too loudly, you'll distort how your mouth is moving. This can distort the conversation, too! 

One of the best things that you can do for your friend or family member is to ask them how you can communicate better with them. They will be the best person to tell you how to communicate with them.

Contact us today

If you are concerned about hearing loss, speak to one of our expert audiologists at Associated Specialists in Hearing Disorders & Hearing Aids by calling (951) 778-0181 today.