How do I communicate with someone who has hearing loss?
These are some of the simple things you can do to make communication straightforward for both of you. Remember, even if someone is wearing hearing aids it doesn't mean they can hear you perfectly.
- Start by asking the other person if they need to lipread.
- Make sure you have face-to-face contact.
- Get the listener's attention before you start speaking, maybe by waving or tapping them on the arm.
- Speak clearly but not too slowly, and don't exaggerate your lip movements as this can make it harder to lipread.
- Use natural facial expressions and gestures.
- If you're talking to a group that includes deaf and hearing people, don't just focus on the hearing people.
- If you're using communication support, always remember to talk directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter.
- Don't shout. It can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users, and it looks aggressive.
- If someone doesn't understand what you've said, don't keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way instead.
- Find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting to aid lipreading, and away from noise and distractions.
- Check that the person you're talking to is following you during the conversation. Use plain language and don't waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.
- To make it easy to lipread, don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing.
Our ‘communication tips card’ gives pointers if you are hearing and want to communicate better with someone with hearing loss, or vice versa, if you have hearing loss and want to communicate with someone who is hearing.
For more information about communicating, see Different ways to communicate