If you have friends or family members who suffer from hearing damage, you may know that communicating is more challenging than it often is with others.
If your loved one uses hearing devices or is proactive in exercising communication skills, there are still things we can do to facilitate better communication and put our loved ones at ease.
Try these strategies to create a more encouraging atmosphere for your friends and family who suffer with hearing loss.
When possible, speak face to face
Body language, facial expression and other cues are helpful to people with hearing loss, so speaking face-to-face whenever possible is ideal. If you are in the same house, get in front of them and make sure they are looking at you before addressing them. This will head off frustration and embarrassment on both sides and facilitate clear communication.
Use his or her name
Hearing and understanding involves much more focus and effort when you are affected by hearing loss. Keep this in mind, and know that your loved one may just not hear you when you first address them. Calling them by name or tapping them on the shoulder can be a loving way to address them and give them respect. By calling out a name, it will get you loved one’s attention much more effectively than speaking in their direction.
Talking over the phone or talking to someone while your mouth is not in clear view can be frustrating for someone with hearing loss. If you are eating or your mouth is covered, try to remember to let them see your lips clearly to help give them cues of what you are saying if they don’t hear it clearly.
Don’t just keep repeating yourself
If there is a communication breakdown, don’t continue repeating the same words repeatedly. Rephrase your communication to help them understand what you are saying.
Some people with hearing loss hear even less clearly when someone shouts at them, so raising the volume may be counterproductive. Speaking slowly and clearly will go much further and will not embarrass them.
Cut out background noise
Whenever possible, keep any ambient noise to a minimum. Turn off TVs and loud music to help your loved ones with their listening efforts. Closing the windows and turning off any appliances or background entertainment will help them a lot.
Adjust your position
You may know that the person you are talking to has better hearing in one ear than the other, so you can try to position yourself to their “good ear.” This simple thing can make a big difference for your loved one.
Remember that they may be hearing distorted sounds
It’s possible that you are doing everything right, but if your loved one still has difficulty following the conversation, try to be patient. Keep in mind that they are also frustrated, and they didn’t choose to have difficulty hearing you.
These tips should help to make communication easier for everyone this holiday season and beyond. Happy holidays!
The first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646