Communication Strategies for Family and Friends
Communication strategies can be helpful when the person has a hearing loss, but does not yet need a hearing aid. These strategies will improve communication between the individual and their family and friends.
1. Face the Person
Always face the hearing impaired person and get their attention BEFORE you start to speak. Do not turn your head away when you are talking. Visual cues are very important during conversation.
2. Mention the Topic
Clue the hearing impaired person in to the topic of the discussion and then proceed with the details. This is especially important when a new topic emerges in the conversation.
3. Eye Contact
Establish and keep good eye contact with the other person throughout the conversation. Also, keep your hands and other objects away from your face. Whether they realize it or not, many hearing impaired persons read lips. Avoid chewing food or gum when you speak, as it can distract the person trying to read your lips.
4. Speak Clearly
Speak distinctly in a normal tone and manner. DO NOT shout. Extreme loudness only makes the problem worse.
5. Reduce or Eliminate Noise
If possible, reduce the surrounding noise that interferes with understanding. For example, move to a quieter room, turn off the faucet, mute the TV, or reduce the volume of the car radio.
6. Make Sure They Understand You
Do not proceed too far into your conversation without asking the person a qualifying question to ensure that they understand.
7. Use Good Questions
Structure your questions so that the person cannot answer with a yes or no response.
8. Repeat with Different Words
If you repeat something, use different words that will express the same message. If they did not understand the initial words, chances are they will still be confused if you repeat the exact words again.
9. BE PATIENT!
We have a tendency to raise our voice and show facial disapproval when we are asked to repeat ourselves. The hearing impaired often misinterpret this reaction and think that you are angry with them.
10. Write Notes
Use written notes as a back up if more clarification is needed.