A game designer and generally awesome person I follow on Twitter by the name of Eddy Webb is significantly worse off than I am by way of hearing, and he recently posted a link to an article on "how to talk with the hearing-impaired". While the advice is good, it's very much focused on face-to-face interactions, and doesn't cover telephones. Telephones are a very much harder nut to crack, when it comes to hearing difficulties.
Here's my advice, in handy bullet point form.
- Speak up. Don't shout, but do speak clearly and loudly. It helps.
- Speak slowly. Don't let your words run together.
- Sit up straight. This does actually make your voice clearer, makes it easier to project, and means I find it easier to hear you.
- Minimise background noise. If I'm straining to pick you out over music, fans, engines, or similar, I'm going to have trouble.
- Re-phrase. If I didn't catch what you said, take a moment and try different words.
- Be patient. I really am trying.
The biggest thing you can do for me, in terms of communication, is to only use the telephone when absolutely necessary. I much prefer something that doesn't require I hold large amounts of unsorted data in mind at once AND strain to hear. But if you have to call me, the checklist above will make it less annoying for both of us. Because I've no doubt whatsoever that as frustrating as it is for me to struggle through a telephone call, it's just as frustrating for you trying to get the information to me when I seem bent on mis-hearing.