Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation, when communicating with the hearing impaired. It is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies to avoid any misunderstanding. Whenever possible, Face the hearing impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light. Not being able to see each other when talking is a common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said.

  • Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech reading more much more difficult. Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation with them.
  • Avoid talking too fast or using sentences that are complexed. Slow down a little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been understood before you continue speaking. Be aware of possible distortion of sounds for the hearing impaired person. They may hear your voice, but still may have difficulty understanding some words.
  • Avoid sudden changes of topic so the subject that is being discussed can be understood. Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate a misunderstanding. Tactfully ask the hearing impaired person if they understood you, or ask leading questions so you know your message got across to the person.
  • Do not over emphasise your facial expressions or lip movements as this can reduce communication between you and the hard of hearing. Be patient and relaxed. If you are in doubt, ask the hard of hearing person for ways to improve your communication with that person.

More than 22 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. Deaf people need to know what subject matter will be discussed in order to pick up words that help them follow the conversation. This is especially important for deaf people who depend on speechreading. Always ask deaf people if they prefer written communication. Do not assume that this is the preferred method. When using writing as a form of communication with deaf people, take into consideration English reading and writing skills. Their skills may depend on whether they were born deaf or became deaf later in life, what teaching method was used in their education, and which communication method they prefer.

Keep your message short and simple.
Establish the subject ahead of time to avoid assumptions
Make your sentences clear and concise.

It is not necessary to write out every word to communicate. 


When on the phone with the hearing impaired, there may or will be a delay, if they are using a communication device. Be patient and wait for them to finnish. Give them time to communicate with you when on the phone. Many times they will be using an interpreter on another line. The lag you will encounter when on the phone will be the interpretation delay.

The hearing impaired can teach us many things.

How to be patient,
How to speak clearer,
Good communication skills,
Better eye contact when speaking.



Rapid City, South Dakota

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