How to stop a deaf friend speaking embarrassingly loudly

Deaf people often do tend to talk more loudly than the rest of the general public - see Why do deaf people shout?. It isn't always the case, though, as it is often possible to tell whether or not a deaf person has their hearing aid turned on by how loudly they are speaking.

Analyse the problem

Where a deaf person does talk embarrassingly loudly in public, questions arise of who is being embarrassed, whether to try to do anything about it - and if so, what should be done and by whom.

Consider the deaf person's confidence

In my view as someone with distinct hearing problems, the priority ought to be to do nothing to damage her confidence. I say 'her'; let's say that the deaf person is a woman for ease of reading, even though this page is just as applicable for a man.

So how serious is the loud speech? Is the most appropriate and caring way forward to do nothing and simply let it continue? The answer may well be yes.

What to do and who to do it

There are situations where something has to be done about the deaf person talking so loudly. The person who ought to do it, in my view, is one of the family or a close friend. This is because the reaction is likely to be irritation in the first instance and it is best that the irritation is with someone with whom it will quickly blow over.

How to do it

The manner of telling is also important in my view. I would advise it being a throwaway remark in the first instance because if a great deal of importance is attached to it, it is likely to damage confidence. Then the result is likely to be that she withdraws into herself and doesn't dare say anything at all in public.

If this tactic doesn't work, I would suggest a simple statement in advance of the next public outing along the lines of, "I'm going to nudge you if you are speaking too loudly." It should be a statement of fact, not an opening for a debate on the issue.

If the nudging doesn't work, you may have to have a heart to heart, no holds barred, talk but let's hope it won't come to that.

If the next 'public' occasion is a small gathering, you may be able to talk to people in advance and ask them to take a turn at getting close to the deaf person and talking 'at' her so that she is more likely to understand the speech. Then you can suggest that these individuals say something along the lines of a pleasantry, "I'm close to you now to give your voice a rest". That implies that the shouting was no more than a generous gesture on the part of the deaf person. So shouldn't damage her self-esteem.

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is for a lay audience and I cannot be responsible for errors or omissions. The views, strategies, advice and suggestions etc are based on my personal experience and are not necessarily appropriate for anyone else. They should, hopefully, stimulate individuals to develop their own strategies.