Posted on: August 18, 2011

Hearing loss can be very frustrating for both the hearing impaired person and their family and friends. Hearing aids can go a long way in helping people communicate again. There are also some steps that family and friends can take to make communication easier:

1. Face the person you are speaking to. People with hearing impairment often lip-read to some extent. It is much easier for the person to lip-read when you are facing them. They will also be more likely to hear you as your voice will carry toward them rather than away.

2. Don’t yell! Shouting or talking loudly distorts speech. Speak normally and annunciate clearly. Try not to speak too quickly or mumble.

3. Make sure your mouth is visible and try not to chew gum or eat while speaking. This will make it difficult for you to annunciate clearly and for the hearing impaired person to read your lips.

4. Reduce background noise. One of the greatest difficulties for people with hearing impairment is understanding speech in background noise. Noise often drowns out the sounds that give speech meaning, making it very difficult to follow a conversation. Turn off distracting sounds like the TV, radio, fans, etc.

5. Rephrase your sentence if you are not understood. Try not to simply repeat yourself word for word. Rephrasing the sentence can give the person you are talking to new context. Some words are also easier to lip read than others.

6. Ask for the persons’ attention before beginning to speak so that they don’t miss the beginning of your sentence. Also, announce new topics as they come up. Giving the person context will help them follow the conversation.

7. Ask the person you are speaking with how you can help.

Improving communication takes time and patience from both the speaker and the listener. Following these steps will go a long way to making communication easier and more enjoyable for both parties.