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Communications strategies for people with hearing loss

Original graphic representation in a tree-shaped form for strategies to communicate effectively to people with hearing loss

Talking to someone with hearing loss can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. Even with a hearing device, people with hearing loss can often struggle to hear your words. Fortunately, there are some techniques you can use to communicate with someone with hearing loss more effectively. Try this approach.

Wave. Get the person’s attention before beginning a conversation. Wave, touch their shoulder or gesture toward them and wait for them to acknowledge you before you speak to them.

Speak face-to-face. Ensure you’re facing a person with hearing loss when you speak to them.  The person can use your facial expressions for visual clues about what you’re trying to convey. Your voice will project better if you talk while facing the other person.

Don’t block your face. Keep your hands and anything else away from your face to avoid muffling or distorting your voice. It will also help the listener read your lips.

Don’t shout. Speak clearly, slowly and distinctly, but naturally. Avoid raising your voice or exaggerating your mouth movements. Shouting can make your voice sound distorted through a hearing aid and more difficult to process.

Find a quiet place. It may be hard to hear your voice over the noises from crowded restaurants, traffic or music. When possible, try to turn down the volume or move away from background noise. Choose quieter restaurants if you know someone with hearing loss will be at your table.

Rephrase. If someone with hearing loss asks you to repeat something, repeat the sentence. If that doesn’t work, try to find a different way to say the same thing. The person you’re talking to may understand what you’re trying to verbalize if you rephrase what you want to communicate.

Stay close. Don’t try to talk to someone with hearing loss from another room. Speak at a close distance, ideally within 1.5 metres.

Stay calm. Try not to get discouraged or frustrated if the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand or frequently asks you to repeat yourself. They’re asking you because they value your words. Understanding the effects of hearing loss will go a long way to better communication.

Hearing loss treatment and information in Calgary

At Soundwave Hearing Care, we understand the physical and emotional challenges associated with hearing loss. We carry a wide range of products to help you with your hearing, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices and custom earplugsContact us today to schedule a visit to one of our clinics in Calgary, Grande Prairie, High River and Lethbridge.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.