How To Talk To Someone With A Hearing Problem


It is perfectly understandable if you feel helpless about not being able to effectively communicate with the colleague who has a hearing problem, and despite all good intentions you either fail to put your point across or disappoint and dishearten him, which, in turn, makes you unhappy in equal measure. There are a few things that you must bear in mind.

1) When you fail to communicate with the fellow, do you feel frustrated? Must be. And you can't help it. Okay, understood. The point is not that you should not feel frustrated, and it really doesn't matter how much we preach to be 'patient and easy' and all that. Frustration in such situation is quite unavoidable. It's not about not being frustrated, it's about not 'looking' frustrated. So, when a point is missed, take a pause, smile at yourself and at him or her, and start again. This time don't parrot-repeat what you said the last time. Say it differently.

2) In case of trouble in communicating make the person feel that it is the problem of you both or your's alone. Never make him or her feel that they were the problem. Even a slight suggestion to that effect will be promptly received, believed and absorbed to heart, which could be quite hurting.

3) Don't just speak, gesticulate as well. You gestures and facial expressions are an invaluable aid for the person to understand your point.

4) If the problem remains, offer to write it down. Do 'offer' and do not take the paper out and start writing all by yourself, for that might be offending to the person.

5) Speak clearly and go slow with your speech. Do not rattle it away like a machine gun. Let the person lip-read your words and put them in sync with your gestures and facial expressions. Once that is done, in all likelihood your point would have gone home with the person.

Remember, your eyes can speak volumes. That's true to the last word, and anyone who has a friend or colleague with a hearing problem knows that communication is possible even when words don't register with someone. So let your face and hands do the talking for a change and see how it makes you feel.