Tips for Talking to Someone with Hearing Loss

Talking to someone with hearing loss can often be uncomfortable and awkward. Do you talk louder than normal? Do you over-enunciate everything? Does it often leave you frustrated and feeling like a terrible friend? These are common reactions, but when it comes to talking to someone with hearing loss, it doesn't have to be like this.

A person with hearing loss is still a person, meaning he or she still needs relationships and the benefits that come with everyday conversations. Ignoring or avoiding them will actually make things more awkward and uncomfortable in the long run.

If you're not sure how to speak to your friend or family member with hearing loss, here are some beneficial tips for you. By making a few adjustments, both of you will get more out of the conversation.

Shorten the Gap

In loud environments with lots of background noise, like a party or a restaurant, move closer together to narrow the space between you and the person with hearing loss. Conversations across the room, or from one room to the other, are difficult for everyone and almost impossible for someone with hearing loss.

Attention Please

Get your friend's attention by using their name or lightly tapping on their shoulder. Wait until you have established eye contact before starting to talk.

Face-to-Face

Speak clearly and maintain eye contact with the person who has hearing loss. Lip-reading and visual clues from your facial expressions help provide context and comprehension.

Limit the Distractions

TVs and other sources of noise can cover what you are saying, making it even more difficult for someone to distinguish your voice from the noise. Keep the conversation clear by turning off or moving away from loud distractions.

No Need To Shout

Speak naturally in your normal voice. Instead of cranking up the volume, speaking more clearly and slowly can help those with hearing loss understand what you're saying.

Know Your Audience

Hearing and understanding requires focus and can take a lot of energy—for anyone. Someone with hearing loss, however, has to work even harder to follow a conversation, particularly in a group of people. Simply understanding this will help you become a better conversational partner.

Patience, Patience, Patience

Be aware that when someone is first learning how to use a hearing aid, it requires a great deal of concentration. Be patient and, if necessary, take a break for a little down time; you can pick up the conversation again later.

By following these tips, you'll find it's easier and less stressful over time to carry on a conversation with a person with hearing loss. A person with hearing loss still needs stimulating conversation and deepened relationships—make it easier on them by understanding what you can do to help conversation flow.

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4 Office Park Circle, Suite 301
Birmingham, AL 35223
(205) 871-3878