1. Use hearing instruments and assistive listening devices when communicating with others.

2. Pay attention.  Watch for facial expressions, environmental cues and gestures.

3. Try to reduce the amount of background noise to help with your speech understanding.  Turn down or turn off the TV or radio and move away from other noises whenever you can.

4. Verify information.  Make sure you know what the topic of conversation is.  If you are unsure what someone said, ask him or her to rephrase.  Have others write down important information, when necessary.

5. Be specific when asking for clarification.  Repeat back the part you heard, so the speaker only needs to clarify the portion of the message that you missed.

6. Be your own advocate.  Make your communication partners aware of how they should speak to you using the strategies below:

a. Request speakers to slow down when talking.  Let them know that shouting doesn’t help.

b. Stay within 3 to 7 feet of others when they are talking and stay at eye level.

c. Keep light on the speaker’s face.

d. Ask those around you to speak one at a time.

e. Request others to rephrase if you don’t understand after 2 or 3 tries.

7. Try to model the same speaking strategies you want others to use whenever it is your turn to speak.