Posted on: 2 June 2015Share
Hearing loss is a significant concern for many people, adults and children alike. Not only is it difficult for the person affected by the hearing loss, but it can also be a struggle for the family, friends and others around them. Even for those who have hearing aids, communication can be a challenge. Understanding how best to communicate with those loved ones can make the process easier and help you foster a strong relationship. Here are some tips for communicating with hearing impaired people.
Make Eye Contact
Even if the person you are talking to has a hearing aid, it's important to make eye contact. Having the conversation face to face helps to foster some understanding, because facial expressions are an important part of communication. Additionally, since many people who have a hard time hearing learn to read lips, eye contact can help with this too.
Speak Normally and Clearly
One of the most common mistakes that people make when talking to people with hearing trouble is yelling. You shouldn't need to shout to be heard or understood. And, shouting at someone who wears a hearing aid may just lead to distortion in what they hear, which isn't going to help. Another problem with shouting is that it alters the movement of your lips when you talk. People who read lips to help understand conversations will be even more confused if you shout. Instead, slow your rate of speech slightly and enunciate your words carefully. If the person you're talking to asks you to speak up, don't shout – just increase your speech volume a little bit.
Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face
Since a significant part of the conversation is reading facial expressions, covering your face when you talk to someone who is hard of hearing can hinder their understanding. Additionally, your hands may get in the way of an attempt to read your lips.
Be Attentive to General Understanding
If you know that the person you are talking to has trouble hearing, make an effort to be extra-attentive to their signs of understanding. It's important that you know how to recognize the signs of confusion, because people who are embarrassed about their hearing trouble may not let on that they aren't understanding you. Watch for any facial expressions that seem to show confusion, or any signs that the person is simply agreeing with you or reacting dismissively. These are all signs that they may not understand what you're saying.
Remember that as hard as it might be for you to express yourself clearly, it is even more difficult for people with hearing impairments to understand conversations around them. Think about how hard it would be to face that kind of struggle every day. With the tips presented here, you can be more effective and understanding in your communication with others who have hearing problems. To learn more, contact a business like Clarity &