Communication tips

Even with well chosen and set up hearing aids, listening in some situations can still be difficult.   However, there are useful ‘tactics’ that can make listening easier.  Remember that communication is two-way, however – so there are things for other people to do as well.

As well as these, you can read some road safety tips by clicking here.


Hearing tips for you

If you have a hearing loss, the following tips could help you:
• Be honest and open - let the person you're speaking to know that you have difficulty hearing.  Doing this before a conversation begins is much better than having to explain after an entire conversation that everything needs to be repeated! 
• Ask people to gain your attention before they start talking. If they have your full attention from the beginning, you are more likely to understand what they say.
• Stand reasonably close to the person  talking to you. Trying to listen across a room can be very difficult.
• Make sure you can see the speaker's face and lips clearly. You’ll understand more of what is said if you can see their gestures and facial expressions.
• Try not to become anxious, worried or flustered, as this can make it harder to follow what is being said. Stay calm and don’t panic.
• If you hear better in one ear than the other, try to position yourself so that the person talking is not on your ‘bad’ side.
• Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat or rephrase something that you’ve not understood.
• Sometimes you may need to ask someone to slow down or speak more clearly. You may also need to tell them that shouting doesn’t usually help, as speech and facial features become distorted.

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How other people can make communication easier for you

If you’re communicating with someone who has hearing loss, the following tips are for you:
• Make sure the person you are talking to is able to see your face and realises you are speaking to them.
• Do not assume that because someone is wearing a hearing aid, they can hear eveything you say.
• Make sure the person is aware of the topic of conversation before you start, or if you suddenly change the topic.
• Speak clearly (without exaggerated lip movements). Do not shout!
• Speak a little more slowly than usual, but not excessively so.
• Be patient and allow the listener time to take in your message. If the person doesn’t understand you, don’t just keep repeating the same words but try putting it a different way.
• Keep it short and to the point. Don't ramble or use unnecessary jargon. And don't change the subject abruptly.
• Choose a place with good lighting (if possible), and keep background noise to a minimum.
• If necessary, write down what you want to say (in work meetings etc, a copy of the agenda or a list of points for discussion can be very helpful to a deaf or hard of hearing person).
• Don't talk with your hand over your mouth or while chewing or smoking.
• If you are in a group, speak one at a time only!

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Keeping safe in traffic

People with hearing loss have to rely more than other people on what they can see when they’re walking, cycling or driving through town. Here are some useful tips:
• If at all possible, do not to cross intersections diagonally. It is very hard to see traffic from all directions.
• When crossing at traffic lights, pay special attention to vehicles that may be turning.
• If you are walking, remember there may be bikes (or runners) coming from behind. Try to keep aware of what is going on around you at all times.
• When driving a car, make regular use of the rear view mirrors and be alert at all times.
• It is a good idea to carry paper and pen or pencil with you when you go out as an aid to communication (e.g. in case of an accident).

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