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Communication Strategies for Family and Friends

When a loved one has a hearing loss, communication can be difficult and frustrating for all involved. The following strategies can help to improve the ability to communicate more effectively. The number one thing to remember for both sides is to be patient with one another. Try not to lose your temper or let your frustration show.

1.Maintain eye contact

It is always easier for those with (and without) hearing loss to be able to see the person that they are talking to. There are visual cues that can help to fill in the gaps in a conversation. Be sure to maintain eye contact and keep hands and objects away from the face.

2.Get their attention

Getting someone's attention before beginning to speak will allow them to know to pay attention. If you start speaking before getting their attention, often times the beginning of the conversation is missed altogether and they never really “catch up”.

3.State the topic

State the topic of the upcoming conversation before proceeding with any details. This is very helpful when switching topics within a conversation.

4.Speak slowly and clearly

Speak slowly and clearly without yelling. Raising your voice too much can do more harm than good when it comes to understanding speech. Speaking in a slow and clear manner will make it much easier to keep up.

5.Be mindful of your setting

It is easier to hear and follow conversation when there is no background noise present. Try to reduce any interfering sounds so that the conversation is more easily heard and understood.

6.Ask the right questions

Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer to be sure that the listener is following. Ask questions early on so that you are sure from the beginning that they are following along.

7.Rephrase when they don't hear you

If repeating is necessary, rephrase the sentence or question. This will allow the listener to catch different words and be able to piece things together. Also, when the listener asks for something to be repeated, it is helpful to let the other person know what you heard the first time so that everyone is on the same page.