Hearing A–Z


Take steps to reduce the tension in as many ways as you can, including making allowances and compromises for each other. And learn to listen – which involves much more than hearing!

A good listener:

  • Allows people to finish what they are saying without interrupting
  • Physically shows an interest in other people’s conversations
  • Asks questions when they don’t understand the point that’s being made
  • Tunes out distractions when they are listening
  • Looks for non-verbal messages (like body language, facial expression and tone of voice)
  • Avoids getting upset if the speaker’s views are different from theirs
  • Shows empathy

Communication breakdown and repair

Effective communication happens when the sender of the message and the receiver of the message take responsibility for its success.

If you are hard of hearing (or even normal hearing!) and not understanding what is said, there are more effective ways of finding out what was said besides “Pardon?” or “What did you say?” or just looking blank.

Here are some ideas…

REPETITION: For example, “Can you repeat that for me please? I didn’t quite catch what you said.”

CLARIFICATION or CONFIRMATION: For example, “Did you say Thursday at 10 o’clock or 12 o’clock?”

REPHRASING: For example, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are saying. Could you say that in a different way please?”

KEY WORDS: Repeat the words that you heard. For example, “I didn’t catch all that you said. Were you talking about a picnic?”

SPELLING AND CODE WORDS: For example, “Could you please spell the name of the street? Is that B for Baker, E for Edgar, A for Alpha and D for Delta? BEAD Street?”

NUMBERS: Instead of saying whole numbers repeat the digits. For example, for two hundred and thirty nine, “Did you say that was number 2 – 3 – 9 Bead Street?”

COUNTING: For example, “I did not get the time we are to meet. Can you please count from zero and stop at the correct number?” (Excellent technique for using on the phone.)

WRITING: For example, “Please write down the name of the street.” Or at a meeting, ask a friend to sit next to you and write down key words as the topic changes.

If you would like advice or more information, call 131 797 to be connected to your local Australian Hearing Centre.

This fact sheet was created for public information by Deafness Forum of Australia. It is the national advocacy body for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Australians. It represents all interests and viewpoints including those people who have a chronic disorder of the ear and those who are Deafblind. www.deafnessforum.org.au