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COPING STRATEGIES FOR COMMUNICATION PARTNERS

  1. Get the listener's attention before speaking.

  2. Be PATIENT with listeners.

  3. Remember that there is a logical reason behind most lip reading errors and listening errors.

  4. Repeat information once and then paraphrase on subsequent attempts to clarify information.

  5. Ask the listener what portion of the message they heard, then clarify and repeat, emphasizing the portion of the sentence they originally missed.

  6. Speak clearly, but don't exaggerate mouth movements.

  7. Don't shout or speak too loudly.

  8. Provide the listener with the topic, or verify it for them to eliminate confusions. Explain or identify topic changes as needed.

  9. Help the listener to stay well informed of current events, and of common topics of conversation.

  10. Ask for information about their hearing loss and listening needs. Ask for tips on how you should speak and what you can do to facilitate communication.

  11. Try to do the following as you talk:

    • Look straight at the person when you speak. Don't speak from another room, or with your back turned.

    • Look straight at the person when you speak. Don't speak from another room, or with your back turned.

    • Move closer. Sit or stand only 3 to 7 feet away.

    • Sit at eye level and at a comfortable angle to facilitate lip reading. (0-45 degrees is a good angle)

    • Speak slightly louder, but don't shout.

    • Do not speak with your mouth full, while smoking, or with something in front of your face or mouth. Keep beards and moustaches well trimmed.

  12. Keep the light on your face, not behind you, otherwise it causes a harsh glare or shadow and makes lip reading difficult.

  13. Add gestures and facial expressions to clarify the message, but don't exaggerate gestures or expressions. If speaking about something in the immediate environment, point to it.

  14. Be flexible with the types of cues, paraphrasing, and clarifications you give. When the topic changes, make sure that the listener is aware of the new topic.

  15. Encourage guessing.

  16. Keep a sense of humor and be patient with errors.

  17. When something is too difficult to be understood, don't insist that the listener get the whole message, especially if it is something inconsequential. If the information is important, be willing to come back to it later. If needed, write a note to yourself as a reminder to explain it to them later.

  18. Encourage them to wear their hearing aids. Be willing to help with batteries, etc. Be willing to wear an FM or direct audio input microphone. Offer to help with obtaining assistive listening devices at lecture sites, theaters, and places of worship.

  19. Modify the lighting and seating arrangement. This may require you to change old habits about where you sit and how you arrange the furniture.

  20. Eliminate background noise. Turn off the TV and stereo; move away from fans, air conditioners, and noisy machines and appliances; try to find quieter location in the room. Go to quiet restaurants and avoid their busiest hours if possible.

  21. Make sure only one person speaks at one time.

  22. Ask questions using an "either-or" format or a "yes-no" format. E.g.: "Did you want the _____ or the _____?" Repeat back what they said to confirm they understood. E.g.: "You wanted the _____ for dinner instead of the _____."

  23. Don't criticize, especially in front of the other people. Remember to apologize when you forget to follow these suggestions. Try to be understanding, and caring, when someone with a hearing problem asks you to help them understand better. They just want to listen and pay attention to what you are saying!

    • Remember: It takes two people to hold a conversation, and both people have to do their part to make the conversation work.