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Benefits of Auditory Visual Communication

In past posts we’ve talked about hearing aids, alternatives to hearing aids and assistive listening devices. If you’ve spent time checking out these items online, you know that a wide range is available.

But you should also know that there is another easy, low-cost strategy you may already be employing that can help boost communication effectiveness.

Q:  What simple, natural activity can boost communication effectiveness?

A:  Looking at the person you are talking to! In most face-to-face communication, you are able to take advantage of visual cues from the talker’s face. While most of us believe we are not very good at lipreading, we all do it to some degree – and even more if we suffer from hearing loss.  You can also glean information from the talker’s body language, such as his posture and facial expressions. These cues can help you better understand the talker’s message.

Q:  Is auditory visual communication effective under all conditions?


A:  It can provide listeners (both with and without hearing loss) important information in all communication situations. Think about this: What is the difference between a telephone conversation with a friend and an in-person conversation with her? During an in-person conversation you can hear your friend’s message, as you can on the telephone; however, you can also pick up on the confused expression on her face or observe her nervous finger-tapping. Auditory visual communication is particularly effective in background noise.

Q:  Do I have to do anything special to get the benefit of auditory visual communication?

A:  Not necessarily. All listeners can benefit by looking at the person who is talking. In addition, many hard of hearing listeners take an aural rehabilitation course in order to maximize their hearing aid benefit. Others choose a course in lipreading. People with hearing loss should talk to their audiologists to determine which options may work best for them.

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