Identify barriers to effective communication

Qualification: Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care
Unit name: Communication in care settings
Learning outcome: 3. Be able to overcome barriers to communication
Assessment criteria: 3.2 Identify barriers to effective communication

It is important to understand the different barriers to communication so that you are able to remove them in order to communicate effectively.


Barriers to communication include:

  • Cognitive ability – some conditions can make it difficult for individuals to understand complex subjects
  • Environment – if an individual is not comfortable they may not be able to communicate effectively (e.g. due to temperature, noise, light etc.)
  • Dialect/accents – some strong accents or dialects may be difficult to understand
  • Sensory impairments – for example, hearing or visual impairments can impede communication
  • Emotional state – if an individual is very angry, upset or sad, communication may be more difficult

This is by no means an exhaustive list – anything that makes communication less effective can be regarded as a barrier.

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