Tips on Interacting with Individuals Who Have a Dual Sensory Loss
The following are tips to consider when when interacting with an individual who has a dual sensory loss.
- Say the person’s name or lightly touch them on the hand or arm before speaking to them.
- Do not shout!
- Speak at a normal volume. You may need to move closer but don’t raise your voice.
- Speak at a normal rate, unless if you have a tendency to speak fast, then slow down a little.
- Do not over emphasize or exaggerate your speech.
- Do not say “never mind” or “forget it”!
- In an area that echoes, you may need to speak a little softer and perhaps move a little closer to the individual.
- When repeating perhaps state the sentence in a different manner. For example, instead of “Do you want to go shopping?” You might say, “Want to go to the store?”
- If possible turn background noise down or off.
- When in a group setting, try to only have one person speaking at a time.
- Specify when changing topics.
- Avoid saying only one word but rather say short sentences to help put the word in context.
- Talk directly to the person and not around them.
- Do not answer questions that are directed to the individual.
- Inform the person when you are moving away or leaving.
- When using phonetics, use words that are not similar to others. For example, “t” for tango and “P” for puppy.
- When stating numbers, use single digits. For example, five six rather than “fifty six”.
- Give directions such as left or right rather than “over here” or tapping on the table or chair.
- Distinguishing where sounds are coming from is often difficult.
- When something needs to be repeated, only one person needs to restate it. Multiple voices at the same time makes comprehension very problematic.
Remember, everyone is different so these are tips to consider. You cannot go wrong with simply asking the individual, when in doubt, “How can I help you hear me better?”