Communicating with an individual experiencing hearing loss can be difficult for both parties. The following strategies will help streamline communication and reduce misunderstandings.
- Gain the person’s attention before starting a conversation. It is helpful to address them by their name.
- Face the individual when speaking. Ideally, you should be positioned within 3 to 6 feet.
- Maintain eye contact at all times.
- Speak firmly and clearly, but refrain from shouting.
- Use short and simple sentences, avoiding complex words and phrases whenever possible. If the individual appears to have difficulty understanding, try rephrasing.
- Avoid covering your mouth with your hands or other objects when speaking in order to allow your listener to speechread (lip read), if desired. Likewise, do not eat or drink during your conversation.
- Use facial expressions to provide visual cues.
- Ask your listener whether they need clarification on any important points.
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