What YOU Can Do to Improve Communication
- Be Assertive – let others know what they can do for you to help you communicate better. Be up front about your hearing loss and your communication needs.
- Control the Environment – whenever possible choose well-lit areas with less noise. Sit close to the speaker (for example in church or lectures).
- Watch the Speaker’s Face – visual cues from the face, lips, and hand gestures can help you “fill in the blanks” to what you may have missed from auditory cues.
- Do NOT Say “WHAT?” – instead let your communication partner know what you missed. For example, “We need to go where tonight?”
- Avoid Being Passive – do not smile during a conversation if you do not understand what is being discussed.
What OTHERS Can Do to Improve Communication
- Gain Attention – do not attempt to start a conversation from another room or when the person’s attention is directed towards something else.
- Maintain Eye Contact – do not turn away while you are speaking.
- Keep Objects Away from Your Face – avoid speaking with food or gum in your mouth. Try to keep your hands away from your face so the listener can see your mouth and lips.
- Speak Naturally – speak at a normal rate and volume and speak clearly. Speaking in an exaggerated tone or excessively slow rate makes understanding more difficult.
- Rephrase, Do NOT Just Repeat – sometimes it is necessary to phrase things in a different way to get your point across.
- BE PATIENT, BE PATIENT, BE PATIENT!!!