For the Listener:
- Relearn the skill of concentration. Pay attention. Listen.
- Avoid pretending that you have understood what was said.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat or speak up.
- Don’t hesitate to inform the speaker that you did not hear what was said and suggest what the speaker can do to help you hear.
- Remind people to speak to you, make eye contact.
- Carefully watch the speaker. Attend to the lips, facial expressions, gestures, and body language.
- Position yourself to take advantage of good lighting and reduce glare. Have the light come from behind you.
- At informal gatherings, try to have one-on-one conversations; these are easier than group conversations.
- Hearing in noisy places (parties, meetings, movies, and church) is a problem for all listeners. Practice will help you learn to separate speech from background noise.
- Encourage the use of public address systems at meetings or at church.
- Arrive early at meetings, church, etc. so you can sit close to the speaker for a better position to hear and see the speaker.
For the Speaker:
- Get the person’s attention before speaking.
- Speak clearly and at a moderate pace.
- Don’t shout.
- Avoid noisy background situations.
- Rephrase when you are not understood.
- Give clues when changing the subject.
- Use facial expressions and gestures.
- Be patient, positive, and relaxed.
- Don’t put objects in front of your face.
Don’t have objects in your mouth such as gum, food, or cigarettes.
- When in doubt, ask the listener for suggestions to improve communication.
The above information was excerpted from “Learning to Hear Again: Listening Strategies and Communication Strategies” by D. S. Wayner and J. E. Abrahamson, 2000.
Please contact Texas Center for Hearing Aids for more information.