Effective Communications Strategies
- Limit distance between speaker and istener to 6-10 feet.
- The speaker should be in the same room with the listener.
- The speaker should use a normal voice. No need to speak loudly.
- Try to reduce background noise as much as possible.
- Encourage the speaker to look at you when they speak. By looking at the speaker’s face and lips, you may be able to see important information that you cannot hear.
- Avoid being positioned with bright light behind the speaker.
- Inform the speaker that you have a hearing loss and that it is helpful if the speaker speaks clearly and somewhat slower.
- Ask the speaker to get your attention before speaking to you.
- Be assertive. Tell the speaker what you need from them to make communication easier.
- Don’t bluff. If you are not sure of the information or the topic, ask for clarification.
- Provide feedback to the speaker regarding important information. Repeat if necessary to confirm that what you heard agrees with what the speaker said. Instead of saying “What?” “What did you say?” or “Huh? Try:
- What did you say about the _______________?
- Who said they were afraid of going?
- How long did you say Tom stayed?
- Where did you put the bottle of shampoo?
- Why did you say you went to New Jersey?
- You may also ask the speaker to rephrase rather than repeat.
- Try to analyze why you missed a particular word, i.e. not attending, too much noise, etc.
- FINALLY, BE REALISTIC. No one hears everything all of the time. Not even people who hear normally. However, the combination of your hearing professional’s skill, the quality instrument that you have chose, the consistent use of both the communication strategies and your hearing instrument will make communication more relaxing, enjoyable and rewarding.