Tips to talking on the phone when someone has hearing loss

Whether you have hearing loss or have a friend or family member with a hearing loss, it’s really important to maintain easy and engaging communication for all parties. Respect and empathy is key.

For those with hearing loss it can be tiring and frustrating when you are struggling to hear what is being said. In addition, if you are communicating with someone with a hearing loss, it can be hard to know if are doing all you can to make it as easy and enjoyable for that person to understand you.

In this article we will provide tips on how to talk on the phone, whether you are the person with the hearing loss or you are someone calling a person with hearing loss.

We want to make communication easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Tips for talking to someone with hearing loss on the phone

When you’re calling someone with hearing loss, using a good phone technique will help them hear as much as possible.

Speak directly into the phone’s mouthpiece, but don’t hold it too close, as this can distort your voice and you’ll lose clarity.

Speak naturally and at a moderate speed. Talking too fast will make it too hard to follow you and speaking too slowly can come across as demeaning. Avoid making the person with hearing loss feel self-conscious. Use pauses rather than slow speech to give the person time to process speech.

Choosing the right speaking volume. There is no need to shout. Shouting actually changes the words. Try not to mumble, as this is very hard to understand, even for people with normal hearing.

Find a quiet place to call from. Calling from the street, a café or an environment where there is background sounds can introduce noise that will distract the listener from hearing your voice. It is important to be aware that some people with hearing loss are very sensitive to loud sounds.

Recognise that people with hearing loss, like most people in fact, find it harder to hear when ill or tired, so ask if you are calling at the right time and call back if not.

Telephone tips for someone with a hearing loss

To set the stage for a great telephone conversation, let people know the best way to do it. Remember friends and family want to involve and engage you in what is going on and will only be too happy for you to let them know the best way to go about it when they call.

When listening on the telephone you miss out on the benefit of body language, lip reading, or facial expressions to help fill in the gaps in a spoken conversation, so be patient with yourself.

It is important that you are in a space that is quiet as background noise will interfere with your ability to follow the conversation. If at home, turn off the TV and radio.

If you have a landline, ask people to call this number first as it is easier for you to use and hear, especially if you have a speaker function. If you are called on a mobile, use a headset as it will help isolate the speaker’s voice.

Don’t pretend you heard something. Admit it when you don’t understand. It can be easy to misunderstand words over the phone no matter what hearing ability you have.

Let people know the best time to call you. You may find that toward the end of the day you are more tired and therefore find it harder to hear.

Consider using Skype or FaceTime as you will be able to see the person talking to you and pick up some of the visual clues that assist you when talking face to face.

Consider purchasing an amplified phone, it is specifically designed for the hearing impaired. They look like a regular home phone but have additional features that allow you to increase incoming sounds. Some also have the ability to increase ringer levels, so you can hear the phone ring when in another room.

Hopefully, offering these tips will assist with communication. If you think your hearing has changed make an appointment to have a hearing test. We have an initial free test which will help determine if you require a thorough test with an Audiologist. It is an excellent step toward hearing to the best of your ability and staying connected.

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