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Hearing Loss

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Living With Hearing Loss

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For family and friends of people with hearing loss

A person with hearing loss may feel cut off from conversations and social interaction. The extra effort and stress needed to take part in conversations can be tiring for all people involved. If you live with someone who has hearing loss, you may improve your communication by:

  • Making sure the person knows you are speaking to him or her. Use his or her name.
  • Speaking to the person at a distance of 3 ft (1 m) to 6 ft (2 m). Make sure that the person can see your face, mouth, and gestures. Arrange furniture and lighting so that everyone in the conversation is completely visible.
  • Not speaking directly into the person's ear. Your facial expressions and gestures can provide helpful visual clues about what you are saying.
  • Speaking slightly louder than normal. But don't shout. Speak slowly and clearly. Don't repeat the same word over and over again. If a particular word or phrase is misunderstood, find another way to say it.
  • Telling the person when the topic of conversation changes.
  • Cutting down on background noise. Turn off the TV or radio during conversations. Ask for quiet sections in restaurants, and try to sit away from the door at theaters.
  • Including the person in discussions and conversations. Don't talk about the person as though he or she isn't there.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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