Tips

  • If possible, face the deaf or hard of hearing individual directly.
  • Your speech will be more easily understood when you are not eating, chewing, smoking, etc.
  • Reduce background noises when carrying on conversations – turn off the radio, tv, etc.
  • Keep your hands away from your face while talking.
  • If it’s difficult for the deaf person to understand you, find another way of saying the same thing, rather than repeating the original words. Move to a quieter location.
  • Recognize that hard of hearing individuals hear and understand less well when they are tired or ill.
  • Do not talk to the hard of hearing person from another room. Be sure to get the attention of the deaf person before you start talking.
  • Speak in a normal fashion without shouting or showing impatience.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Ensure that you are surrounded with adequate lighting when speaking. The lights should be on the speaker’s face. This allows the deaf listener to observe the speaker’s facial expressions, as well as lip movements.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing persons can also benefit from seating themselves at a table where they can best see all parties.
  • Announce beforehand when you are going to change the subject of conversation.
  • Do not hesitate to rephrase your remarks or have someone whose voice is familiar to the hard of hearing individual repeat your words.
  • Do not talk too fast.
  • If the deaf person has difficulty with letters or numbers, say “M as in Mary”, or “B as in  Boy”. You can also say the numbers separately, like “five six” instead of “fifty six”. The reason for doing so is that certain letters and numbers sound alike, eg: [m, n], [56, 66], [b, c, d, e, t, v].
  • It’s ok to write your words and show them to the hard of hearing individual if you have to.
  • Just don’t walk away leaving the hard of hearing listener puzzling over what you said, thinking you don’t care.

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