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Speaking to someone who is hearing impaired

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:47 pm
If you know someone who's hearing impaired, there are several strategies you can employ to make communicating easier for both of you. A good way to initiate a conversation with hearing-impaired individuals is to attract their attention by entering into their field of vision. Position your body so that your face and lips can be easily seen. Your facial expressions and lip movements can help a hearing-impaired person decipher what you're saying. Don't speak from another room because your sound will be muffled and your face can't be seen. Speak clearly and naturally in a tone slightly louder than you would normally use. Don't shout, as this may cause distortion in the receiver's hearing aid. Also, don't speak too fast because this can slur your words together, making it more difficult distinguish words and sounds. Sit as close as you can to the person you're speaking to, especially in noisy environments. The best distance, according to experts, is three to six feet away. In general, if your message isn't being fully understood, repeat what you said using different words. If you change the topic, alert your listener. This gives them a general field of reference from which to interpret the conversation. If you'd like more information about communicating with the hearing impaired, consult an audiologist.
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