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Tips for when it's hard to communicate

​​​​​​​​​​Groups of people

  • Ask that only 1 person talks at a time. Everyone has trouble hearing in groups, especially when more than 1 person is talking at the same time.
  • Practice talking in groups of family and friends. It may help you to become more confident in other groups.
  • Pay attention to the person who’s talking. It takes more effort to listen in groups.


  • Use telephone amplifiers to help you hear. They can be used with or without hearing aids. You can get them where hearing aids or telephones are sold.
  • Ask your audiologist if your hearing aid has special features to help you hear better on the phone.
  • Turn the volume up on public telephones if they have volume controls. If your hearing aid has a telecoil (telephone switch), look for a public phone with a blue ring where the cord attaches to the phone.

Radio or television

  • Use the built-in closed captioning (CC) option on your TV to show the words on the screen. For older TV’s, you can buy a caption box that will connect to your TV.
  • Use headphones and other devices (e.g., amplifiers) to help you hear the radio or television. You can buy them at electronic stores or where hearing aids are sold.


  • Choose bright and quiet restaurants.
  • Go to restaurants when they’re less likely to be busy and noisy.
  • Try not to sit close to noisy areas like the kitchen, lounge, or front door.
  • Ask for a high-backed booth or a table along a side wall.
  • Sit across from your guests instead of beside them.

Places of worship

  • Sit close to the front where you can easily see the face of the person talking.
  • Adjust your hearing aid to the voice of the person talking, not the other sounds (e.g., soft prayers, music).
  • Ask if they have devices to help people hear better at your place of worship.


  • Try different​ seats in the theatre to find the spot where you can hear and see best.
  • Ask if they have devices to help people hear better at the theatre.​

Where to go get help

For more information about how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help, contact:

  • Your doctor, public health nurse, or other health provider
  • Your local health centre

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