Losing your hearing or knowing someone who is experiencing hearing loss, can be very challenging. You realize just how important basic communication is to keep in touch with someone, connect with your loved ones and help someone in need. So, if you require some helpful techniques for how to communicate with someone with hearing loss, we’re here to help. As a professional audiologist service, we specialize in building lives back to what they once were. We don’t believe that you should shut the old chapter of your life to begin anew with your newfound hearing loss. Quite the contrary – with proper treatment, you can just pick up where you left off!

Pronounced Speech and Lip Reading

Be mindful of someone who is hearing impaired because sounds do not get picked up so easily. This is especially true around corners, walls and other areas. So even if you are shouting but the other person is in another room, then you may find they do not hear everything you said or misinterpret your words. So, when you are speaking to someone who has hearing loss, try to speak with them while making eye contact. This way they can see you and read your lips (here are some tips!). But here are some helpful ways to help them lip read you better:

  • Don’t talk to them while eating. We tend to crumple our mouths to talk when eating, to stop it from falling out. Thus, our lips are not shaped in the natural way we normally speak.
  • Try not to speak quickly, even if it's an emergency. Shouting is not as useful as calm pronounced speech.
  • When you are speaking in a pronounced way, you are making slightly exaggerated lip movements, thus helping the hearing impaired to understand what you are saying quicker.
  • Try to say long words slower. If you are saying a word with three or more syllable words, then slow down as you get there. For example, did you get all that in-for-ma-tion I sent you?

Use Sign Language

Everyone can sign language to some degree. Even if it's not the official sign language, we can all make hand gestures that would help someone to understand what we are saying. We do this all the time with people who are far away. You make gestures like a person walking, eating, sleeping or traveling gestures to let someone know on the other side of the street where you are going or what you are doing.

This can also be done for someone with hearing loss. Speak with an audiologist such as ourselves, and we’ll give you some helpful tips on how you can learn basic sign language and incorporate it into your everyday communication skills. It's good to test your sign language on the person in your life who is hearing impaired. This way, unique gestures can be agreed upon as regards their meaning and proper look. Many married couples find they make a few unique gestures to help them with very specific communication such as for medication.

Rephrase What You Are Saying

Sometimes even with gestures and slowly speaking while making eye contact, the person who is hearing impaired might not understand you. No worry, just rephrase what you wanted to say to them. This can easily be done once you get the hang of it. Something as simple as I’m going to make spaghetti tonight can be changed to, I will make pasta for dinner. Try to use the shortest words possible and speak slowly still. Something complex such as I’m going to turn the porch light on for the evening can be rephrased as I put on the porch light.

Rephrasing is something that you just have to learn with experience. You’ll learn to think on your feet and use shorter words that get straight to the heart of what you are communicating. If you require help as to how to do this, speak with an audiologist and they can help you with word selection. Rephrasing really does take time to learn because you have to stop and think, how to express the exact thing you mean, but with fewer words. 

If you would like to know how you can communicate with the hearing impaired, speak with one of our audiologists. We do much more than fit people from hearing aids. We’ll give family and friends tips on how to communicate with the hearing impaired around the house, on a night out and how to make them feel comfortable in a crowd. 

Learn more about Hinderliter Hearing Services and call us today at (248) 430-7353.