For someone with hearing loss, social situations are challenging — even a simple conversation can be exhausting. If you have a friend or loved one who has hearing trouble — and hasn’t tried a hearing aid yet— you can help improve communication with them by following these 7 Tips for Talking with Someone with Hearing Loss.
1. Gain attention. Gain the listener’s attention before you begin talking, by saying his or her name, or touching the listener’s hand, arm, or shoulder lightly. This simple gesture will prepare the listener to listen and allow him or her to hear the first part of the conversation.
2. Speak naturally & don’t shout. Speak distinctly, but without exaggeration. Shouting actually distorts the words. Speak at a normal rate, not too fast or too slow. Use pauses rather than slow speech to give the person time to process speech.
3. Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating or chewing or touching your face while talking, your speech will be far more difficult to understand.
4. Acquaint the listener with the topic of the conversation. Avoid sudden changes of topic. And if the subject is changed, tell the hearing impaired person what you are talking about now. In a group setting, repeat questions before continuing with the discussion.
5. Seat them smartly. If you’re sitting down to a meal with others, the best place for the person with hearing loss is where he or she can see as many faces as possible — in your dining room, at the head of the table, in a restaurant, in a quiet corner.
6. Check in. People with hearing loss may nod their heads as though they understand what you’ve said when, in fact, they did not. If you think your listener may not be following, ask if he or she understands and, if necessary, convey the information again in shorter, clearer sentences.
7. When your loved one is ready… offer to go with them to a free hearing check.
Once your loved one is ready for a hearing exam, you can make an appointment for a FREE EXAM with a specialist at one of our Beltone Hearing Care Centers or by calling us at 1-800-BELTONE.