Strategies To Help Communicate
Strategies to help you communicate
There are things you can do, and things others can do, to help you communicate more easily – with or without hearing aids.
Strategies that can help you communicate more effectively
- Tell others that you have a hearing loss and let them know how they can help (e.g. make sure you have my attention before speaking to me, speak slower, look directly at me).
- Keep background noise to a minimum – turn down the radio and television when you’re talking, and avoid fans or running water during conversations.
- Move closer to the person speaking and position yourself so you can always see them.
- In large groups, position yourself in the center. At large gatherings, such as church services or lectures, sit at the front of the room. Use an assistive listening device, if available.
How family and friends can help
- Reduce background noise by turning down the television or radio, turning off the dishwasher, fan and other noisy devices.
- Move closer to the listener.
- Try to have only one person speaking at a time in large groups, when possible.
- Do not cover your mouth or chew gum or food when speaking.
- Reduce the distance between you and the listener. Look directly at the person when speaking.
- Ensure conversation areas are well lit so the listener can watch facial expressions.
- Avoid conversations in the car where it is difficult to hear between the front and back seats or to read lips.
- Get the listener’s attention before you begin speaking.
- Pronounce your words clearly and allow the listener time to fully comprehend the conversation.
- Rephrase a sentence rather than simply repeating it, as some phrases are easier to lip read than others.
- Do not talk from another room. Not being able to see each other when talking is a common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said.
- Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech reading more difficult.
- Say the person's name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus attention and reduces the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
- Do not speak too quickly. Slow down a little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been understood before going on.
- Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating, chewing, smoking, etc. while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand. Beards and moustaches can also interfere with the ability of the hearing impaired to speech read.
- If the hearing impaired listener hears better in one ear than the other, try to make a point of remembering which ear is better so that you will know where to position yourself.