How to Communicate with People who Have Hearing Issues

How to Communicate with People who Have Hearing Issues

Communication is among the vital parts of human race existence. The quality of communication usually gets impaired once a person has hearing issues. For those experiencing hearing loss, understanding speech turns into frustration, fatigue, depression and ultimately isolation.

A hearing-impaired person must be ready and willing to use communication strategies to evade these awful situations. However, for you to learn and apply these communication strategies, you are required to be assertive. Obviously, the initial step is to be willing and accept that you have a hearing problem, but pointing out the communication challenges you experience is wholly important.  The following are some communication strategies for both the listener and the speaker use in order to reduce conversational troubles.

Tips for the Person who can Hear Properly:

  • Gain attention: Before initiating the conversation, call the person by their name or gently tap their arm or shoulder to get their attention.
  • Face each other: Maintain eye contact with the hearing impaired person to help him or her read your facial expressions. Ensure there is enough light on your face for them to see you well (this assists with easy lip reading).
  • Avoid background noise: move to a quiet spot or reduce noise.
  • Stay close: Maintain a close distance to prevent your voice from fainting or getting muffled by other sounds.
  • Speak clearly: Speak normally or a bit slower and maintain high volume, but do not shout. Try not to use too many words since lip movements can become distorted.

Tips for the Person with Hearing Disabilities

Below is a list of effective communication strategies to help those with hearing challenges.

  • Pay attention: Give extra attention to the speaker and aim to perfect your listening skills. Try to read visual cues of facial expressions and lip movements to understand what is being said.
  • Anticipate: To be an active participant you need to contemplate ahead and plan for what is expected to come. It becomes easy to hear when you anticipate what is about to be said. This ultimately reduces the difficulties victims face when comprehending messages.
  • Stay positive and relaxed: Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Try not to blame others for your difficulties. Do not get weary of trying to exercise these tips and maintain a positive attitude even when the situation gets challenging. An optimistic attitude can perform wonders in helping you overcome your tough times.
  • Use effective clarification strategies: Try not to ask people to repeat what they have said except when it becomes extremely necessary. As an alternative, you can:
    • Repeat exactly what you heard. The speaker will correct the errors, if there are any.
    • Clarify by restating what you have understood. The speaker will readily help you understand if you are wrong.
    • Pose a Question. For instance: “What is the name of that restaurant?”

The goal of these communication strategies is to improve our skills in communicating more effectively. Both people with normal hearing and those who face hearing issues are encouraged to learn these valuable communication strategies to develop effective communication and successful relationships.