Currently, one in eight people aged 12 or older living in the United States has hearing loss in both ears, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Hearing loss is quite common, though learning how to communicate with those that are deaf or hard of hearing is not. It’s easy to do, and it’s truly important, as being able to talk to those that you love should never not be an option.
Keep reading to learn a few tips on how you can continue to communicate with those with hearing loss.
Get Their Attention
First, you’ll need to get the attention of the person you want to talk to.
Screaming at anyone to get their attention is generally a bad idea, so it’s best to go over and lightly tap them once on the shoulder. You can also wave at them if they are already facing you.
Go Somewhere With Good Lighting
Now that got their attention, go somewhere with good lighting and minimal background noise.
Because those with hearing loss communicate visually, it’s crucial that they can see your face and the gestures that you make.
Avoid standing in front of windows or other light sources that could make it difficult to see your face. Along with this, try not to block your mouth, as lip reading is essential for those who are deaf.
Make Eye Contact
Your communication will be a lot clearer if you face the person you are talking to and make eye contact the whole way throughout the conversation. This will allow you to easily see each other’s faces and facial expressions, which means better understanding.
It also shows the person that you respect them, so even if they have an interpreter, keep eye contact with the person to whom you’re actually speaking.
Speak Clearly and Repeat Yourself
Not all people that have hearing loss are well versed in lip reading, so it’s vital that you work with them to make communicating as easy and natural as possible.
Speak clearly and use short sentences. This will help to get your meaning out without it getting confused. Avoid mumbling or using too many words.
If you must rephrase or repeat words, do it without getting frustrated.
Don’t over-gesture or shout, as this can come off as incredibly rude and startling to the person receiving it.
If the person you’re talking to has hearing aids, you may need to raise your voice for them to hear you better. If this is the case, you should know it before doing so.
For more information on buying a hearing aid, click here.
Learn Basic Sign Language
Not all deaf people know sign language, as there are many different ways to communicate. However, sign language is an excellent tool and reliable method that many people use, so it’s wise to learn at least a few signs.
While you don’t have to become fluent, it will show the person you’re talking to that you care, and it will make communicating much smoother.
Use These Tips to Easily Talk With Someone Who Is Hard of Hearing
It doesn’t have to be difficult to talk with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. As long as you take the time to figure out what works best for each individual, you’ll be able to maintain and grow relationships with every different sort of person.
Remember to be patient and never give up when trying to communicate with those with hearing loss.
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