3 Methods of Communicating with The Hearing Impaired

grandfather reading books to grandchildren on couch

Even without hearing loss, discussions and communication require a great deal of concentration, energy and patience. A loud setting or individuals who talk too rapidly can make communication difficult for anyone, but especially for those with hearing loss or other hearing impairments. This can make things challenging not just for the person with hearing loss but also for their friends and family or even strangers they may need to communicate with. 

Here are some things you can do to help someone with hearing loss communicate with you, whether that person is you or a loved one, friend, colleague or perhaps someone you meet in another setting. Read on to find out more. 

Treat the Communication Like Any Other Conversation 

Overcompensation is a frequent issue while communicating with deaf individuals. Instead of communicating properly, people will just talk loudly. They may have the incorrect impression about lip reading and produce wildly exaggerated enunciations, making lips more difficult to read. They may attempt to avoid using complex terms and dumb down their communication, which may come off as condescending. None of this is helpful to the hearing-impaired person, who just wants to have a normal conversation, order a meal, ask for directions or anything else that those without hearing loss take for granted. 

When you need to communicate with a deaf or hearing-impaired person, you don’t need to get worried about it. Simply relax and approach it like you would any other discussion. Speak properly and without muttering or hiding your lips. The majority of communication is by expression and body language, therefore feel free to utilize natural examples of these to help get your message across more effectively.

Learn How They Like to Communicate 

Everyone is unique and has their own preferences and interests in terms of how they want to interact with others. Before starting a discussion, find out how the hearing-impaired person you are talking to likes to communicate with others. Do they prefer to sign? Can they read lips? What is their level of hearing loss? In other words, make the discussion about them, and let them choose the pace. You’ll be able to make your friend or colleague much more comfortable and enjoy a fun conversation at the same time. 

Avoid using jargon, slang or abbreviations as well. While you should not dumb down your speech, keep in mind that deaf individuals have their own language in American sign language.

Keep Things Brief and To the Point

Don’t be afraid to ask the other person whether they could understand what you were saying. Even more essential, don’t be hesitant to ask if there was anything you might have done to make things simpler or better. Everyone is unique, but with numerous discussions and feedback, you should quickly have a solid general sense of which techniques work and which do not.

This is an essential guideline to remember while communicating with anybody. It’s not only talking; it’s about listening to what the other person has to say.

In this vein, it’s also important to choose where you have your discussion carefully. A noisy restaurant or coffee shop will be much harder to communicate in than a quiet office or in a park, for example. If you’re choosing the venue, think about this in advance; it can make all the difference when it comes to good communication with anyone who is hearing impaired. 

Always Speak Face to Face

The most impolite thing a person can do to a deaf or hard-of-hearing person is to turn their face away. It’s impolite in general, but particularly in this situation. This is due to the fact that many deaf individuals would depend on lip-reading to comprehend what is being said to them. By glancing away, you are effectively making it more difficult for them to engage in the discussion.

So, make sure you’re constantly facing the person you’re talking to and don’t shift around too much. Similarly, avoid doing anything that may cause your face to be obscured, such as concealing your lips or wearing certain kinds of clothes. Another useful hint is to keep an eye on your surroundings. Make sure the lighting is bright and even and avoid sitting directly in front of glaring lights. You need to be always seen. 

If you need more advice or if you are hearing impaired and you need to ask questions, make an appointment with the expert audiologists at The Hearing Doctors today at (630) 315-2899.