Communication Tips

Here are some helpful tips for communicating with people with hearing loss.

  • Always face the person you’re talking to. Be aware that when you’re looking away from a person or covering your mouth, your lips can’t be seen.
  • Speak normally, don't yell or scream. Yelling causes you to speak abnormally, making it difficult for people to understand you.
  • Don't speak too quickly. What you're saying needs to be processed and figured out.
  • Make sure you’re well-lit (avoid backlighting). Dim areas make it difficult to speechread. If there’s a light source behind you, such as a window, this often makes it difficult to see your lips.
  • Reduce ambient noise. When speaking to someone who is hard of hearing, try to minimize surrounding noise.
  • Explore alternative ways of communicating, such as writing on a whiteboard, using pen and paper, using text or email on a smartphone, or showing examples of what needs to be done.
  • Confirm with clarification. If there's a chance you were misunderstood, a great way to clarify is to have someone repeat what you've said. This works for hearing people as well.

Learn more about communication strategies in our Accessibility Guide to Businesses & Service Providers, a free guide published by CHS.