Basic Guidelines for Communication with Hard of Hearing
During a conversation with a Hard of Hearing person pronounce clearly, do not raise your voice and do not change the speed of your speech. Do not start a conversation with a hearing impaired person if he has turned away from you. Make sure, that he sees you in front of him when you are talking. If he is not looking at you, let him know that you want to start speaking – for example with a gentle touch on the arm.
Make sure that your face is perfectly lit, do not stand with your back to the window.
Sometimes even a hearing person is unable to perceive information when there are multiple people speaking at once, or if the conversation is disturbed by music or noise.
To perceive speech through hearing aids and to lipread at the same time is quite mentally strenuous. Therefore, if possible, turn off all audio sources and make sure only one person is talking when communicating with a Hard of Hearing person.
Make sure that the Hard of Hearing person understood all well. If needed, repeat the information calmly. You can change the sentence structure or use different words.
If the Hard of Hearing is in the company of other people, make sure that he is participating in the conversation. Tell him what is being discussed. You can also use a written communication.
In the workplace or at home, do not leave the Hard of Hearing out the conversation. Make sure he gets all the important information and necessary messages.
Even when you are involved in a heated discussion, do not forget that following a conversation requires full attention from the Hard of Hearing, which makes him tired quickly. A short time-out during important meetings is appreciated by hearing people also.
Induction loops in the conference and community centers, theaters, cinemas, churches, etc. help the Hard of Hearing understand and participate in events. Your personal interest will help ensure that these tools are installed and maintained.
Never turn your back to a Hard of Hearing person while you are talking at the same time.
Do not go too far from a Hard of Hearing person. Sound intensity drops by 50% if the distance is doubled, and only a few meters can prevent hearing a message.
Make eye contact as well.
If several people are present, it´s better to call them by their name.
In a very noisy environment, it is a great help when you will politely touch the Hard of Hearing person before you start talking.
Speak slowly and clearly - but do not shout. Often it is not a question of volume but a question of a articulating each word clearly. Misunderstanding one word can change the meaning of the message or cause the end of the conversation. If a person does not understand the sentence even after several repetitions, try to choose different words.