Communication is an important element in anyone’s social life. As a child develops and learns to hear and speak, it’s important to ensure that your child is able to hear and be heard. As you enjoy the holidays, consider sharing some of these tips to your family members on how best to communicate with your child with hearing loss.
- Try not to approach the child with hearing loss from behind, try to approach from the side or front as to not startle them.
- Get the attention of the child prior to speaking to them. To get their attention, gently tap them on the arm or shoulder or say their name. Wait until they are look at you before speaking.
- Always face the child when speaking to them and don’t move around.
- Do not have anything between your mouth and their eyes, as they may need to see your lips as you speak.
- Use meaningful gestures when speaking and utilize facial expressions, lip movements, and visual cues (pointing, etc.) So the child knows you are speaking to them. Use meaningful gestures when you are talking with the person.
- Make sure there is nothing in your mouth when you speak. Do not chew, drink or smoke to avoid confusing the child.
- Speak louder and slower.
- Make the effort to speak a little louder.
- Speak slower and pronounce each word completely.
- You do not need to yell, but it is best if you raise your voice a little so that the child can really get a better understanding of what you are saying.
- Also, you do not need to over-annunciate your words – this will only make it more difficult for the child to read your lips.
- Pay attention when a child with hearing difficulty is speaking to you.
- Observe their facial expressions, gestures and body language to gain better understanding of what they are saying.
- Be patient. If the child doesn’t hear or understand you, just repeat your words again.
- If the child with the hearing loss doesn’t understand your first repeat, rephrase your words.
- Some older children with hearing loss will repeat what yousay so that you can confirm you understand each other, but if they do not it is okay to ask them to repeat what you have said. This becomes very important with giving instructions to help insure that everyone is on the same understanding level.
- Use pen and paper for communication if it is impossible to communicate through speech. The child with hearing loss can write responses to your written statements or inquiries to facilitate communication.
- Some children like to use an FM System, lapel microphone or Mini Mic when conversing in noisy environments. They may hold a microphone that’s attached to their sound processors via a wire closer to your mouth. Do not feel uncomfortable; this is to help the recipient have direct input of your voice.
- Some children are unilateral (have a hearing implant only on one side) or have a “better” ear. They may walk, sit, or stand closer to you with their “good ear” towards you.
- Remember, they want to communicate, so it’s worth the effort.
Share this YouTube video on how a cochlear implant works with your family members.
Share this YouTube video on how a Baha System works with your family members.
If you’re an adult who personally experiences hearing loss, read this blog post on how to enjoy the holidays.