Face the hearing-impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light
whenever possible
Do not talk from another room. Not being able to see each other when talking is a
common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said.
Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating
mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech
reading more difficult.
Say the person's name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a
chance to focus attention and reduces the chance of missing words at the
beginning of the conversation.
Avoid talking too rapidly or using sentences that are too complex. Slow down a
little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been
understood before going on.
Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating, chewing,
smoking, etc. while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand.
Beards and moustaches can also interfere with the ability of the hearing impaired
to speech read.
Most hearing-impaired people have greater difficulty understanding speech when
there is background noise. Try to minimize extraneous noise when talking.
Some people with hearing loss are very sensitive to loud sounds. This reduced
tolerance for loud sounds is not uncommon. Avoid situations where there will be
loud sounds when possible.
If the hearing-impaired person has difficulty understanding a particular phrase or
word, try to find a different way of saying the same thing, rather than repeating the
original words over and over.
Acquaint the listener with the general topic of the conversation. Avoid sudden
changes of topic. If the subject is changed, tell the hearing impaired person what
you are talking about now. In a group setting, repeat questions or key facts before
continuing with the discussion.
If you are giving specific information – such as time, place or phone numbers – to
someone who is hearing impaired, have them repeat the specifics back to you.
Many numbers and words sound alike.
Whenever possible, provide pertinent information in writing, such as directions,
schedules, work assignments, etc.
Recognize that everyone, especially the hard-of-hearing, has a harder time
hearing and understanding when ill or tired.
Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding.
Tactfully ask the hearing-impaired person if they understood you, or ask leading
questions so you know your message got across.