How to improve conversations with those with hearing loss
10th August 2018
Sometimes it can be hard to know what you can do to help when you’re having a conversation with someone who has hearing loss. We’ve put together our top tips on on how to engage with your friends and family members that do have hearing problems. These simple pointers will help to support them and show them that you value their conversation.
In group situations, make sure that only one person speaks at a time, try addressing the person by name before speaking, this will make it easier for the person with hearing loss to know who is talking and hear the conversation more clearly. By saying their name first they have time to get accustomed and not miss the beginning of a sentence.
Face the person directly. When you’re talking to someone who is hard of hearing or has hearing loss, ensure you’re on the same level as them and that you’re in good lighting whenever possible. Do not talk from another room or if you’re not facing the person. Not being able to see each other when talking is a one of the main reasons people have difficulty understanding what is said. It’s, therefore, also best practice to not turn your head away or cover your mouth when you’re talking.
Reduce Background Noise. Try to eliminate as much background noise as possible to help the hearing impaired person. During conversations, turn off the radio or television. When you are in restaurants and social gatherings, choose seats or conversation areas away from crowded or noisy areas to reduce noises that may make it more difficult for the person to hear.
Speak naturally and at a moderate speed. Speak normally and avoid making the person with hearing loss feel self-consciously. When talking in person or on the phone, use pauses rather than slowing your speech, the pauses will give the person time to process what you’ve said. Talking too fast will make it hard to follow you and speaking too slowly can come across as demeaning. If someone asks you to repeat what you’ve just said, try to word it in a different way instead of repeating the same thing or shouting.
If you have any other questions about hearing loss or if you’d like to book an appointment to see one of our hearing specialists, please contact us.