Tips for Communication with People that have Hearing Loss

Even with hearing aids, a person with hearing loss can misunderstand conversation. Words that are spoken may not be distinctive enough for a hearing impaired person to understand, causing misinterpretation, making what they hear seem senseless. If you have hearing loss or communicate with someone who has a hearing loss, here are some suggestions that may help improve speech understanding.

  • Use the person's name to get their attention.
  • Speak at a close distance and look at the person.
  • Speak clearly in a normal tone of voice as some hearing aids will reduce sound automatically if the input is too loud. Clarity in your speech is more important than how loud you speak.
  • Look at the person you are speaking to. Many hard-of-hearing people can read lips to help them understand the words you are speaking.
  • Speak slowly so that the person can understand you better.

In some cases short sentences are easier for a person with hearing loss to process.

It is sometimes necessary to rephrase what you say to someone who can't hear well. They may have misunderstood the original phrase, but can put things together if rephrased.

Reduce background noise if possible, turn off the radio or TV if it doesn’t have to be on.

Confirm that the person with hearing loss has understood you by asking if they heard what you said.

Be ready to use a pen and paper if necessary for important information.

You and your family can work together to make hearing easier.