by Chelle Wyatt
Talking to a hard of hearing/deaf person is easy! Follow these communication guidelines to improve conversations and cut back on repeats.
- Always get the person’s attention first. Say their name, wave until the person looks at you or tap their shoulder.
- Face them when talking. Be within 6 feet for the best listening/seeing advantage.
- Make sure your face is in the light and not in the shadows. Hard of hearing people use lipreading to some degree.
- Take care to enunciate. Speak at a moderate pace and make sure nothing is in your mouth or in front of it.
- Use gestures and facial expression as every little bit helps.
- Do not shout. Shouting distorts words and faces making it hard to understand.
Rephrasing is a key element.
Sometimes hard of hearing people get stuck on a word or phrase. Instead of repeating the same thing, try rephrasing. Use a synonym if possible. Include more facts in the sentence. If it’s a long list break it up into smaller sentences.
-Their new sofa was so comfortable.
-Their new couch was very comfortable.
-We’re all going to watch a movie on 33rd this afternoon, do you want to come?
-Rhonda, Brenda and I are going the movie theater on 3300 south this afternoon. Do you want to come?
-Hello my name is John. Welcome to our café. Here’s our specials for the day: Stout braised bratwurst, chipotle barbeque pork sandwich and citrus marinated chicken tacos. Would you like to try any of those?
-Our specials are bratwurst, spicy pork sandwich and chicken tacos.
As a hard of hearing person, instead of saying “what” or “say that again” try making these a habit instead:
Can you say that again but in a different way please?
I heard this part (repeat what you heard) but I missed the last part. Can you say that in another way?
Can you slow down and break it into shorter sentences for me?
Tell me more about the chicken tacos.
With a little practice rephrasing becomes second nature.