Suggestions for Individuals with Hearing Loss, Their Family, and Friends
Tips for the person with hearing loss:
• See an audiologist for a hearing evaluation to understand how you can best be helped.
• Let others know that you have a hearing loss and how they can best communicate with you.
• Sit in the front at church, plays, and other public gatherings.
• At home, sit close to the TV so the volume won't have to be as high.
• Look at the person who is talking to you. We all "read lips" to some degree and also benefit from seeing facial expressions.
• If you have been fitted with a hearing aid, wear it every day. Don't say "I wear it when I need to hear." You don’t know what you're missing if you can't hear it! This is especially important if you live with other people. Your family members can’t know how loudly to speak, if they are never sure if your hearing aid is on. Furthermore, you will become better adjusted to the sounds around you if you wear your aids full time.
Tips for family and friends:
• Sit near the hearing impaired person and face him/her when speaking. Avoid having your back to a window or bright light.
• Speak slightly slower than normal, but not so slow that it sounds unnatural.
• Get the attention of the hearing impaired person before starting a conversation. This is probably the most important tip for enhancing communication.
• Don't attempt to talk to the hearing impaired person from another room. You will both be frustrated.
• If you are not understood, try rephrasing rather than repeating. For example, "fifteen cents" is easily confused with "fifty cents." Say "half dollar" instead.
• If possible, avoid having a serious conversation in public; wait until you can be alone.
• Above all, show respect for the hearing impaired person. Avoid sounding impatient. It's common to sound mad when talking louder, even when you aren't.
• Don't talk about the person in his/her presence, even though communication is difficult. Be aware that what you say may be understood.
• Hearing loss is isolating. Make an effort to keep the hearing impaired person included in everyday events and in casual conversation.