with Hard of Hearing People
Laine Waggoner, MA, MS
get the listenerís attention:
the listener- 6 feet or less and use lots of eye contact.
a quiet space with few visual distractions.
sure the light is on your face (no backlighting).
certain they can see and hear you.
sure your face and lips are fully visible.
the topic at the outset and give clues when the subject changes
visual aids as much as possible.
what else you can do to communicate more effectively.
care with your speech:
TO hard of hearing people, not ABOUT them.
shout, but speak clearly at a moderate pace.
clearly and concisely.
long and complicated sentences.
facial expressions and hand gestures to convey meaning.
vocal monotony: project enthusiasm.
alert to signs of fatigue or distraction.
speak with something in or covering your mouth.
(tactfully) for feedback to be sure you are understood.
or rephrase when you are not understood.
amplification whenever possible.
patient and understanding:
understanding and empathy by encouraging the hard of hearing to talk about
actively involved with them emotionally. Facilitate their growth by striving
to understand their reality. Convey hope and faith about their ability to
learn new behaviors and thought patterns.
in touch on all levels, listening and watching for the emotional content of
what is both said and unsaid.
communication can break down:
loss is usually a problem with word discrimination. People
who do not hear well may be aware that they do not understand you. Then, it is
easy for them to ask for repetition or rephrasing.
frustrating is when they unknowingly miss sounds or words, so the message
received is wrong or confusing. If the situation is not clarified, an
embarrassing or dangerous situation may develop.
Waggoner is the Director of HEAR (Hearing-loss
Education And Relationships), which conducts support
groups, facilitates seminars, and provides private coaching for individuals who
are experiencing hearing loss. Email:
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