Guidelines for Effective Communication with Someone with a Hearing Impairment
  • Avoid interrupting other speakers. It is difficult for someone with a hearing loss to follow a conversation when more than one talker is speaking.

  • Indicate and identify any change in who is talking.

  • Avoid calling out to the listener from a long distance or another room.

  • Provide written information when necessary.

  • Ask the listener what types of things make the message easier to understand.

  • Rephrase when repeating is not enough.

  • In group settings, repeat questions or key points before continuing with the discussion.

  • Slow down but don’t exaggerate your speech.

  • Avoid shouting. Speak naturally, clearly, and distinctly.

  • Remove obstacles, such as food, gum, hands, from your face when speaking.

  • Pay attention to the listener, so you will notice when she or he seems confused.

  • Face the listener. It is difficult for the listener to hear or make use of any lipreading cues when your face is turned away.

  • Get the listener’s attention first by touching the shoulder or raising your finger.

Adapted from ASHA’s Audiology Information Series, Communicating with people with hearing impairment, 2003

For further information about communication strategies for listeners and talkers, visit the Better Hearing Institute online at




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