Communicating with People who have Hearing Loss

Communicating with People who have Hearing Loss


Some general Advice for clear communication for people with hearing loss.


  • A small amount of thought and effort in communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people can make a huge difference.
  • For Sign Language Users whose main link to the world is visual, it is helpful to use:
    • Some basic signs and finger-spelling to support spoken communication.
    • For more serious matters an interpreter or communicator may be needed.
    • Clear communication as detailed below.

Practical ways of improving communication through speech and lip-reading.

For the millions of people who have become deaf as adults, or are hard of hearing, there are many ways to ease communication with them.

  • Speak a little slower but keep your natural pace and rhythm.
  • Don’t distort your lip patterns and don’t shout. – The deaf individual still won’t hear you and it will only make your lip patterns harder to read.
  • Keep the message straightforward and clear. – Why use 100 words when 20 will do.
  •  Have pen and paper ready if needed. – This is a simple way to get your message across when all else fails.

Always remember that facial expressions, gestures and body language make up a massive percentage of what we communicate.

bodylanguage 55p.c., words 38p.c., Tone 7p.cAll of our communication is made up of what we say, how we say it and the body language we use to convey it.

  • Words 38%
  • Tone 07%
  • Body Language 55%

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Lip-reading involves the whole face and your expressions will convey a lot of information too.
Remember some words are easier to lip-read than others. Generally when lipreading you only read a small percentage of the words and reconstruct the sentence mentally.

So if you’re having difficulties, try saying it another way, the more you do it the better you’ll get.

Eye contact and line of sight in a visual language is key!:

  • Eye contact is essential!
  • Try to avoid moving around as you speak.
  • Don’t cover your mouth or talk with your head down as you write.
  • Hold things up for viewing or point to them when necessary.
    • Give the deaf individual time to look at what you are pointing at then back at you before you start the next bit of communication.
  • Good lighting is important not just the presence of but the amount or lack
  • The light should be on the speakers face.
  • Try to avoid the light behind you and your face in shadow.
  • Avoid glare so in the deaf individuals’ eyes, if they can’t see you they can’t “hear” you.

Common ways of attracting a deaf person’s attention:

  • Tap the individual on his\her shoulder
  • Make waving movements in their line of sight.
  • Tap a table as they may be able to feel the vibrations it creates.


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