When you encounter someone who has hearing loss, the following tips can be helpful to effectively communicate and reduce chances of misunderstandings:
1. You must face the person with hearing loss. They are more often dependent on lip reading or visual cues. Be friendly to gain their attention.
2. Since hearing-impaired people are dependent on lip reading or visual cues, make sure that you do not cover any part of your face, chew any gum, move unnecessarily, or use unintelligible words. Speak clearly and slowly. Do not shout as shouting can distort the mouth and make word/lip reading difficult for them.
3. For your lips and visual cues to be clearly seen, make sure there is adequate lighting so that your lips are visible.
4. Reduce any distractions like background noise, or move to a quieter place when talking because hearing-impaired people are sensitive to distractions.
5. Avoid talking too fast. You can either pause between sentences or phrases to make sure that you are understood.
6. Consider the distance when you are talking to people with hearing loss. Make sure that the person can see you clearly to read your lips or interpret your visual cues.
7. There are times hearing-impaired people can hear clearly in one ear, speak on that side.
8. If the person is unable to understand you, do not repeat your words. Either rephrase or try a different way of saying what you meant to say rather than repeating the same words.
9. Use clear gestures and appropriate facial expression. Be vigilant to the person’s expression because a puzzled look may mean that the person does not understand you.
10. When you are to convey important information like names, telephone numbers, addresses, etc., it is better to have it in writing to minimize misunderstandings.