CUH NHS 75th birthday logo

Communication tactics for everyone (Audiology)

Patient information A-Z

Who is this leaflet for?

One in five of the adult population has a hearing loss.

The following is a quick guide as to how you can help yourself and others to hear better.

If you have a hearing impairment

  • Don’t stand too far away from the speaker
  • Face the speaker and keep the light on their face
  • Make sure that you can see the face/lips of the speaker and watch for expressions and gestures
  • Ask the speaker to get your attention first
  • Encourage people when starting a conversation to start with the subject at the beginning
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the speaker to repeat themselves or to rephrase
  • Ask the speaker to slow down and speak clearly
  • Explain that you have a hearing loss and then tell people how they can help you
  • Be assertive
  • Try to keep calm and don’t panic

Think positively

Simple considerations can help you to use your hearing more effectively, think about each situation and how you can improve things.

If you are speaking with someone who has a hearing impairment

  • Attract the listeners attention
  • Ensure the listener knows the topic
  • Do not shout
  • Do not over exaggerate lip movement
  • Speak clearly but not too slowly
  • Keep your hand away from your face
  • Keep the light on your face
  • Remove sunglasses
  • Try to keep items such as cups or cigarettes away from your mouth as these may prevent lip reading
  • Rephrase and don’t just repeat a single word
  • Remember the listener is watching you closely because they are lip reading
  • Move closer to the listener

Be understanding

  • Hearing aids cannot restore normal hearing
  • Communication is a two way process

Manipulate the environment

  • Reduce background noise where possible
  • Choose quiet surroundings wherever possible
  • Always speak to other people from the same room
  • Rooms with soft furnishings reduce echo
  • Sit where the light falls on the speakers face
  • Consider whether another part of the room would be quieter
  • Turn down the volume of your hearing aid in noisy places
  • Sit so that you reduce any distraction from behind
  • Using mats and tablecloths helps reduce echoes and harsh sounds

Think positively and be Understanding

A little extra effort eases frustration for everyone.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151