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Speech and Hearing Loss

Speech and Hearing Loss

Communication, it’s a part of everyday life. From ordering a coffee in the morning at your favourite café to talking with your family over dinner, it’s something most of us take for granted. Our ability to communicate with other people is heavily dependent on our ability to understand speech, which is one of the most complex sounds we have to listen to. Without good hearing in both ears, understanding what a person is saying needs more concentration and can be very tiring, especially if several people are talking or there’s background noise. People with hearing loss know this struggle all too well.

Misunderstanding what has been said can be very frustrating for both listener and speaker and can make socialising with friends and family a difficult, far less pleasurable experience. Too often, this leads to avoiding such situations or increasing reliance on a partner or friend with better hearing.

Relationships can quickly begin to suffer with the strain of trying to cope with hearing loss, even to the point of a complete breakdown in communication when a hearing loss is allowed to go too far before seeking professional help and support.

For those with a hearing loss, asking the people around them to accommodate to their hearing needs can be difficult. But the reality is successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved.

Even when the person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening strategies, it is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies, including the following:

  • Face the hearing-impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light whenever possible. Position yourself so that the light is shining on the speaker’s face, not in the eyes of the listener.
  • Do not talk from another room. 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 difficult.
  • Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus attention and reduces the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
  • Avoid talking too rapidly or using sentences that are too complex. Slow down a little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been understood before going on.
  • Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating, chewing, smoking, etc. while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand. Beards and moustaches can also interfere with the ability of the hearing impaired to speech read.
  • If the hearing-impaired listener hears better in one ear than the other, try to make a point of remembering which ear is better so that you will know where to position yourself.
  • 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.


If you are suffering with the symptoms of hearing loss and need support from the people around you, try passing along these tips and tricks to improve communication.

If you would like more information on solutions for hearing loss or to book a FREE appointment, give us a call on 8331 8047.



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