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Ohio Head & Neck Surgeons provide answers to the most frequently asked questions and best care practices for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases and disorders, allergy, hearing loss, and cosmetic treatments.

Hearing Loss & Communication Strategies

Communication strategies are simple ways to make conversation easier and more enjoyable for all listeners. We recommend you share them with your family and friends.

Speak clearly and naturally:
Do not shout. It can distort the signal, making it harder to understand. Slowing your rate of speech will allow the listener to process meaning. Pausing between sentences allows the listener to “Catch up” if they lag behind.

Move closer:
Reduce the distance between speaker and listener, especially in background noise.

Face the listener:
Ensure the listener can clearly see the speaker’s face and lips.

Get the listener’s attention:
Before you begin talking, attract the listener’s attention by saying their name, entering their field of vision, or lightly tapping him or her on the shoulder.

Rephrase rather than repeat:
The same words that are repeated may still be misunderstood by a person with a hearing impairment. Rephrasing can give the same message but in an easier-to-understand way.

Take the surroundings into account:
Do not try to communicate from another room. Turn off or move away from extraneous noise such as loud music, vacuum cleaners, lawn equipment, etc.

Be patient:
Being patient and respectful is one of the best ways to support a hearing-impaired person. Listening can be exhausting for him or her, especially in noisy situations.

Do Not Pretend:
Acting like you understand conversations, such as laughing when everyone else does or just nodding your head can add to breakdowns in communication. Inform others of your hearing loss so that everyone can practice good communication strategies. Not doing so can cause misinterpretations and damaged relationships.

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