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How to Communicate Better with People Who Have Hearing Loss
If you have a loved one with hearing loss, you can take small actions to make a big difference in how well they understand conversations. That’s because their understanding depends not only on their specific type of hearing loss, hearing device use and surroundings, but also on factors like their attention level, emotional state, expectations and fatigue*.
If you know someone with hearing loss, the following tips* may help you communicate with them:
1. Avoid noisy background situations and get your loved one’s attention before you speak. If they enter a group in the middle of a conversation, help them join in by summing up the gist of the conversation for them.
2. When you speak to your loved one, face them and speak clearly, at a moderate pace. Don’t shout. If they have trouble understanding you, try rephrasing your words.
3. Give visual clues when changing the subject.
4. Use facial expressions and gestures but don’t exaggerate them. Stay patient, positive and relaxed. If your loved one is tired, a break may boost their attention and motivation to listen.
5. Try not to put objects in front of your face. Chewing gum or food when you speak can also make it harder for someone with hearing loss to read your lips.
At the same time, remind your loved one that they can help you by indicating if they do not understand you, and by offering suggestions for improvement. Also, if they have not already seen an audiologist and tried a hearing device, encourage them to do so (read our previous post on approaching a loved one about hearing loss).
Let them know that new hearing devices can improve their hearing without significantly changing their lifestyle. Lyric is a completely invisible, extended wear hearing aid, which means they can experience natural hearing 24/7 without anyone seeing how they are hearing better. Even if Lyric is not suited for their specific type of hearing loss, discreet traditional hearing aid options are available.
To learn more about Lyric, or to ask us questions directly, visit and “like” our Lyric Hearing Facebook page!
*Source: Matonak in Counseling for Hearing Aid Fittings (edited by Sweetow, Singular Press, 1999).