Communicating with a hearing-impaired person
Here are a few suggestions for communicating effectively with someone who's hard of hearing:
- Before starting to talk, reduce the background noise if possible. For example, turn off the TV or stereo.
- If you can't reduce background noise, move to a quieter area to talk.
- Make sure you have the person's attention before speaking. Simply saying the person's name can accomplish this.
- Face the person as you're talking, with no more than two to three feet between the two of you.
- Speak at a normal conversational level if the person is wearing a hearing aid. If the person is not, talk a little louder than normal, but don't shout.
- If listening conditions are difficult, speak at louder levels.
- Speak naturally but a little slower, with a few more pauses than usual.
- Watch your listener's face for signs that hearing the conversation is a problem. Tactfully ask if you're being heard and understood.
- Rephrase your questions or statements if the listener appears unsure about what has been said.
- Alert your listener to changes in topics of conversation.