How to have easier conversations

Mar 02, 2023 in Hearing Care

man and woman on sofa

Hearing loss communication tips

We all understand the huge value of staying connected, particularly after the pandemic, and the critical role it plays in both our physical and mental wellbeing. However, if you or a loved one develop a hearing loss, communicating and managing social relationships can become more challenging.

Our closest communication partners – our friends and family – are often the first to identify a change in our hearing, but they are also likely to be the first to adapt their communication style to accommodate any hearing difficulties.

With that in mind, we've put together some top tips to help those communication partners, as well as individuals with hearing loss, to help keep your conversations going.

man and woman laughing outside

Tips for speaking to someone with a hearing loss

  • Gain the person’s attention before you start speaking
  • Ensure the person can see your face and lips clearly
  • Don’t shout – speak clearly and don’t over-exaggerate your lip movements
  • Use natural facial expressions and gestures
  • Use plain language that is easy to follow
  • Try not to chew or cover your mouth while you’re talking
  • Speak on the side that a person hears better (if they have one)
  • Move closer to them
  • Find a suitable place to talk with good lighting and away from noise and distractions
  • If a person does not understand what you have said, rephrase it
  • Be ready to write on paper
  • Above all, be patient and understanding
two women laughing

Tips for those with a hearing loss

  • Be open, tell others that you have difficulty hearing
  • When speaking to someone, keep the speaker’s face clearly visible and well-lit
  • We all lip-read and most of us don’t know we are doing it! We also use other visual clues, particularly gestures and facial expressions
  • Turn off or move away from other sources of noise that may be distracting, such as the television or radio, or the busy area of a restaurant
  • Keep calm and don’t panic. If you miss one thing, try to stay calm so as not to miss the rest. Your brain has to fill in the gaps your ears are missing, so take your time and think about what you may have missed
  • If you mishear, ask the speaker to rephrase rather than repeat. Don’t try to bluff or nod your way out of conversations. You don’t want to miss out on anything important
  • In theatres, places of worship and meetings, try to sit near to the front or close to a loudspeaker
  • Ask others to have a read of the tips on this page – they too should be helping you to hear more clearly

How we can help

If you or a loved one would like a free full hearing assessment for a comprehensive overview of your hearing health, we’re here to help. You can book an appointment online, or call our Dedicated Patient Support team on 0800 40 20 20.