Improve communication with hearing loss

Learn about how to improve communication with hearing loss. 

Paul Schoenfeld, MD, Behavioral Health


If you or someone you know has hearing loss, these tips may help. 


Talk face to face

  • Face the person you're talking to. Don't try to talk to someone from a different room or with your back turned. It’s easier to hear what people say when you can see them talking. Facial expressions and lip movements help listeners understand your words.
  • Stand where there's good lighting on your face. This makes it easier to see your facial expressions and read your lips.
  • Try not to talk while chewing or smoking. It can make it harder to understand what you’re saying and for other people to read your lips.
  • Try not to talk while reading the newspaper or holding something in front of your face. Also, try not to lean your cheek on your hand while talking. These actions will also make lipreading harder for other people. 

Speak at a natural pace

  • There’s no need to shout. It’s fine to speak at a normal level when talking with someone who wears hearing aids. Most aids amplify a normal level of speech. If you shout, it may be too loud or even painful.
  • Try not to talk too quickly. Speak naturally. Pronounce your words more clearly. This will help slow your speech. Be careful not to overdo it.
  • If you’re having trouble being understood, try rephrasing your sentence rather than just repeating yourself. Some words are more easily heard or lipread than others.
  • When you’re in a group, take turns talking. Try not to interrupt each other or cut each other off while speaking. If the conversation changes suddenly, try to make sure the person with the hearing loss knows, so it will be easier for them to understand.

Try to have less background noise

  • Turn off the television and close any open windows to cut down on noise from traffic.
  • Move closer to the person you’re talking to so your voice will sound louder. This will also make your face and lips easier to read.
  • Try to find somewhere quieter to talk.
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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.