Communication entails effort to understand and be understood. It is not enough you give a clear message. Sometimes, another person who listens to you does not completely get what you are trying to say. On the other hand, you must also be aware whether or not you are talking to people with hearing loss. If that is the case, there is a need to change the way you communicate.
Talking to people with hearing loss is really a challenge. Nevertheless, there are many ways to deal with this problem. All you need is to follow a set of etiquette whenever communicating with them personally or in a group gathering such as meeting, presentation, or interviews. Below are some simple steps you need to take note:
1. Look Directly at the Person with Hearing Loss
If you try to watch a movie with no audio, the only option you have is to look at the face of the people on the screen to read their lips. This is also the same feeling people with hearing loss will experience. Regardless of your skills, you should face the person when you are talking. If you are doing a presentation, position your eyes straight to them.
2. Never Talk in Distance
When we want to immediately say something, we tend to say it even if our listeners are a bit away from us. What we do is we speak loud or even shout just to convey whatever news we have to share. The problem with this is that some people with impaired hearing will surely find it difficult to get what you say even if they use some hearing aides. As much as possible, be close to people who you want to talk to.
3. Mention the Names of People
Let’s say you’re in a meeting, and some of the people in the meeting have hearing problems, you can effectively communicate with the rest of the attendees by occasionally mentioning their names. People with hearing aids may easily recognize the sound of their names.
4. Speak Slowly
The manner we talk to people we commonly communicate with may not always apply with other people. If you talk to someone with impaired hearing, don’t forget to speak slowly. When you speak so fast, their hearing aids may not receive it properly. As much as possible, say something clearly. You don’t have to make it too slow. Just observe their gestures and see how fast they can follow you. Some people with hearing aids can follow quickly depending on the situation.
5. Pause from Time to Time
Even for people with excellent listening ability, it is very difficult to understand a person who keeps on talking without a period. From time to time, pause for a while at at least for 3 or 4 seconds. This will enable your listeners to anticipate your next words. In addition, you can also have some breathing space to prepare for your next message.
6. Use Your Hands Properly
There are times that hand gesture alone is enough to convey a certain message without saying any word. Even if you don’t know how to use a sign language, the effective use of hands can provide a clear message. Just make sure you do what seems to be a general rule. Saying yes or no can be expressed by hand gestures. You may invent your own signals as long as they can be understood. But if you are saying something complicated, reduce your hand gestures because they may distract your listeners.
7. Ask People with Hearing Loss
Keep in mind that communication is not one way. You won’t just say something and expect to be understood. Sometimes, ask the people with impaired hearing whether or not they get your message clearly. There are times that their hearing aids work on one side of the ear only, so you should also be aware of such problem. Nevertheless, these people will surely cooperate with you when you reach out to them.
8. Adjust to Their Hearing Aids
In some cases, you will encounter people with hearing aids not working properly. What you can do is to adjust to the setting of such hearing aides. Try to have a test communication with them before you proceed to your actual conversation. Help them hear you because this will also help you proceed.
9. Minimize Distraction
As much as possible, try to make the place quiet. People with impaired hearing struggle to listen when the surrounding is noisy. Check whether there is unnecessary noise you should stop before you talk to them.
Don’t forget to recap all that you said. This can make your listeners confirm they have heard you right.
The above tips are based on the rights of people with disabilities. To know more about the legal implications of dealing with people with hearing loss, you can contact johnsonlawoffices.net to help you.