Tips for communicating with the hard of hearing person

Even the smallest change in a listening environment of a person with hearing loss can have a huge impact. People are generally not good communicators. We have bad habits that we do not even realize that we exhibit when communicating with our loved ones. Some of the things we should NOT do when communicating with people who have difficulty hearing are:
*Do not walk away when speaking to them. Many people with hearing loss rely heavily on facial content. They likely read lips more than they realize and can get a lot of information from facial expressions as well.
*Do not yell when speaking to them. Speaking loudly can often actually distort the sound quality and even cause discomfort. Speak in a regular volume and average speed just clearly enunciate your words.
*Do not chew gum, eat or otherwise do things that may cause your words to become unclear.
*Do not assume they know you are talking to them. Get their attention before beginning the conversation. Let them know what the conversation is about so they can look for content that makes sense for the conversation.
*Do not say the same thing over and over again. If it seems like you are not being heard or understood change the words you use. Some words are easier to lip read or are made up of sounds that the listener can understand better.
*Do not try to communicate in poor listening environments. When choosing a table in a restaurant make sure those with hearing loss have their back to the wall so there is no competing noise coming from behind them. Request a booth if possible. If there are only tables request a table away from the bar or kitchen, where it is generally more noisy.
*Do not get frustrated and I know this is hard but please be patient with the hearing impaired they are working very hard to be a part of the conversation.