Communication tips for people with hearing loss
- Have you thought about learning to lipread? Everyone lipreads to a certain extent, especially in noisy places. HHAS offers lip-reading classes in various locations across Hertfordshire.
- Be open and honest - tell the person you're talking to that you lipread before starting a conversation
- Ask people to get your attention and, if possible, give you the topic of conversation before they start talking to you
- Stand a reasonable distance from the person who is speaking to you - 3 to 6 feet is about right
- Try to keep calm and don't panic - being relaxed will make it easier to follow what's being said
- If your hearing isn't the same in both ears, try turning your better ear towards the person speaking to you
- If you don't catch what is said straight away, ask the person to repeat it or say it a different way
- If necessary, ask the person to slow down and speak as clearly as possible, or write it down for you
- Don't punish yourself - no-one hears correctly all the time!
- Make sure you can see the speaker's face clearly, especially their lips. Their facial expressions and gestures will help you to understand what is being said
Communication tips if you're speaking to someone with hearing loss
- Even when someone is wearing a hearing aid, always ask if they need to lipread
- Be sure to get the person's attention before you start talking to them
- Speak clearly, but not too slowly, using normal lip patterns. Also try to use natural facial expressions and gestures
- If you are talking to a deaf person and a hearing person, focus your attention on both people - do not single out the deaf person
- If the deaf person is struggling to understand what you've said, try saying it a different way
- Keep your voice at normal level. It's uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout and you naturally look aggressive
- Find a suitableplace to talk, with good lighting and away from distractions, including background noise
- Remember to turn your face towards the deaf person - make sure they can see your face at all times when speaking to them
- Check that the person you're talking to is able to follow what is being said
- Use plain language and don't waffle!
HHAS offers a Deaf Awareness training course to companies to help staff communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people effectively.