Communication Tips for Speakers
Tips for Speakers
Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation. Even when the person with a hearing loss uses hearing aids and active listening strategies, it is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies.
- Face the person with hearing loss 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 a conversation.
- Provide pertinent information in writing.
- Avoid situations where there will be loud sounds when possible.
- 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.
- Know where to position yourself.
- Be aware of the distance you are from the listener. The ideal distance for the communication is 3-5 feet away from the listener.
- 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.
- Be aware of possible distortion of sounds. They may hear your voice, but still may have difficulty understanding some words.
- Try to minimize extraneous noise when talking. Most people with hearing loss have greater difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise.
- Try to find a different way to say the same thing rather than repeating the original words.
- Acquaint the listener with the general topic of the conversation. Avoid sudden changes of topic. If the subject is changed, tell the other person what you are talking about now.
- Have them repeat the specifics back to you if you are giving specific information – such as time, place, or phone numbers. Many numbers and words sound alike.
- Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. Tactfully ask the other person if they understood you.
- Be sensitive. Hearing loss can trigger negative emotions for listeners. Be aware of how your communication partner feels.
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