Communication guidelines

When you communicate with a hard of hearing person, you have to follow a few simple rules to maximise the communication.

If you follow the guidelines below, you can improve communication to the advantage of both you and the hearing-impaired person.

  • Get the person's attention. It is very important that the hard of hearing person knows that somebody is talking to him or her.
  • The hard of hearing person must be able to see you. Look at each other. Do not over emphasise your facial expressions or lip movements as this can reduce communication.
  • Talk face to face ensuring that your face is easy to see. Facial expressions and lip movements are very important for the hard of hearing person.
  • Do not chew food or chewing gum, or smoke. It makes it more difficult to understand what you are saying.
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Do not shout or mumble.
  • Do not cover your mouth.
  • Speak one person at a time.
  • Avoid noisy background situations.
  • Rephrase to avoid misunderstandings and situations where you are misunderstood. Certain words are easier to hear or lip-read than others.
  • Be patient and relaxed.
  • If you are in doubt, ask the hard of hearing person for ways to improve communication


And remember:

  • Talk to a hard of hearing person - not about him or her.

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