Tips for Speaking to Someone with Hearing Loss

Tips for Speaking to Someone With Hearing Loss


Speak slightly louder than normal, but do not shout. Shouting will more likely make things worse by distorting the signal.


Speak at a normal rate or slightly slower than normal, especially if your normal rate is on the fast side. Be careful not to speak too slowly as the content of the message can more easily get lost.


Many hearing impaired people rely on lip-reading skills (consciously or unconsciously) and will understand better if you articulate your words well. Be careful not to over-exaggerate because over-exaggerated lip movements are more difficult to follow.


Try to avoid speaking to a hearing impaired person with your back turned to them. Facing them will help make lip-reading easier.


Try to avoid directing the lighting in a hearing impaired person’s face. Try to have the best lighting possible without “spotlighting” and direct it towards the speaker’s face.


Do not repeat. If a hearing impaired person did not understand your message the first time, rather than repeating the information, rephrase the message to be shorter and simpler.

Eliminate Competing Noise

Hearing impaired people have greater difficulty when in the presence of background noise. If at all possible, eliminate or minimize any competing noise (i.e., other people talking, radio, television, etc.).

Get Attention

Especially when initiating conversation with a hearing impaired individual, it is best to get that person’s attention first, before beginning the remainder of the message. This gives the person the opportunity to “tune in” better to the conversation.

Provide Clues

Whenever possible, try to give a clue as to the topic of the conversation. This will make it easier for the person to piece together information that they have difficulty understanding.

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