Working with the hearing impaired can be challenging and frustrating for everyone even on a good day. Communicating with people on a daily basis can have challenges. It can be frustrating for both the aide, the client, and family members. It is vital to understand and make yourself be understood by your client. Take your time when speaking with someone that has a hearing impairment. There are several levels of hearing impairment, and also several levels of understanding.

Approach Your Client From The Front Or The Side

Approach your client from the front or the side, so that they can see you and gently touch them on the arm or the shoulder, try not to startle them, if they can see you coming from the front or the side, they are more comfortable and at ease.

Background Noise

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to sort out different sounds and conversations, especially if there is a lot of background noise going on. Turn the volume on televisions and radios down, close doors to block out noises from other rooms. The less background noise the better able the client will be able to understand you. If the client is in a noisy dining area, either move them to a quieter location to speak with them or get down in front of them so they can see your face and your mouth. Avoid talking with your client while your back is turned to them or from another room. Always look your client in the face and let them see you, talk clearly and loud enough for them to hear you.

Hearing Aids

Often times a client will have hearing aids. Keep them clean and within their reach. Help them adjust the volume level on the devices. If the volume is up to high the resident will be assaulted by loud pitch whistles, causing them discomfort.

Sign Language

Sign language, facial expression and lip reading help the client understand. If you know sign language and your client does too, use it. Note pad and pencil or pen is another form of communication that works well with the hearing impaired. Use a black sharpie and make your words and letters clear, bold, and large, so that the client can read it. The darker the better.


When speaking to the client with hearing loss, face them; keep your words short, simple and clear. “Mr. Todd, I am going to make your bed now.” speak slow and clear. Do NOT speak to them as if they were children and do not scream at them, look them in the face and talk to them. You may have to repeat yourself many times, but always look for ways to make communication much easier. Hand gestures, lips reading, notes, hearing aids, and pictures are all good communication aids.

Speak Clearly And Slowly

Lower your voice from its normal pitch and speak clearly and loudly, do not scream or yell that gives the client the wrong impression and causes him/her to think you are angry. Some people can hear things in different pitches; work with your client to see which technique works for both you and them. Pronounce numbers as single digits. For instance, 67 can be said as “Six Seven” otherwise it might sound like, “Stick a pin in your oven.” Alternatively, something like that. If you are helping a client with letters and spelling, say it like this “B=boy, r=?” p and b and d can often get confusing so pronounce your letters clearly.

Change Up The Vocabulary

If a client is having a hard time, understanding a word or a phrase, change the word or the phrase make it simple. “I’m going to give you an emesis basin” can be rephrased to, “Here is something to spit in.” Always use wording or terminology that everyone understands

Single Topic Conversations

Keep to the conversation at hand. Jumping from one subject to another can get confusing and frustrating for the client. Keep your conversation brief and to the point and stay on point.

Understanding Your Client

If your clients are trying to communicate with you and you cannot understand them, slow them down and have them repeat themselves slowly. Always repeat back to them what they have said to you. Repeating can help clear up confusion.

Finishing Up

Let your client know when you are done with your work in their home and that you are leaving. Make sure they are situated so they are safe and make sure they have their phone within reach and are wearing their life alert. Always place remote controls, water, and other needed items, within easy reach of your client.

Hearing Impairment Quiz

    * Required Information

    1. You must take your time when speaking with someone that has a hearing impairment.*


    2. When speaking to the client with hearing loss, always face them; keep your words short, simple and clear.*


    3. If a client is having a hard time, understanding a word or a phrase, you should change the word or the phrase and make it simple.*


    4. When finishing up with your client you need to place important items such as remote, phone, and water within their reach.*