February 11, 2023

If you have noticed that a loved one is beginning to suffer with hearing loss, there are a few things you can do to make them more comfortable and confident.

For those who are just beginning to struggle, they may be in denial that it is a problem while at the same time get very frustrated that communication is harder than it was before.

It’s important to recognize that losing one’s hearing is stressful, frustrating and embarrassing for the person dealing with it, so using as much kindness and grace as possible during this time is important.

How People with Hearing Loss Hear

What often happens when someone starts to suffer from hearing loss is they just start to not hear everything that is said. So they may seem to understand everything normally, and then out of nowhere ask you to repeat yourself. If this happens several times in a conversation, hearing loss may be an issue.

The brain does the heavy lifting when we hear and understand sounds, noise and conversation, so not hearing everything as effortlessly as they once did can confuse the brain and frustrate the person who is trying to communicate. If you recognize the situation you can help to alleviate this stress and put them more at ease.

Hearing Aids and Communication

Even if the person you are talking to is aware of their hearing loss (if you see that they have a hearing aid, for example), it’s important to note that even with hearing aids they won’t hear you the same way as they would with fully functioning hearing.

Hearing aids amplify sound, but may not make the sound any clearer for the person listening. So while the volume may be fine, the words may sound more garbled or less clear to them.

Background noises can also be very distracting for someone with hearing aids because that sound is amplified as well, so if there is a TV, radio or other noise in the background that can be eliminated, that will help as well.

How to Communicate with Someone Who Has Hearing Loss

  1. Contextualize – When telling a story or referencing something, give it a lot of context, so if they miss a few words you are saying they can still understand what you are getting at.
  2. Say Their Name – When you begin to speak to them, say their name so they pay attention and don’t think you are talking to someone else.
  3. Face Them – Many times people who suffer with hearing loss rely on lip reading to fill in the blanks of what they don’t hear clearly, so face them and let them see your mouth when you are talking.
  4. Speak Clearly – Speak clearly and enunciate the words you say a little bit more than normal to put them at ease and so they don’t have to struggle to follow what you are saying.
  5. Mind the Environment – If there is any background noise that can be avoided, like a radio in the car or a TV or air conditioner that can be silenced, do it. The more quiet the environment, the less they will struggle.
  6. Take Turns – Try to avoid anyone speaking at the same time or talking over each other. If one person speaks at a time it is easiest for them to understand.
  7. Be Patient – If the person asks you to repeat something more than once, don’t get irritated or frustrated. This is frustrating for them too, and they are trying to understand so show them grace and kindness.
  8. Laugh with Them – If they make a joke or poke fun at themselves for struggling laugh with them (not at them) and make them feel comfortable in the situation.

Putting your conversation partner at ease and making communication as easy as possible will help both of you feel more relaxed and help everyone to enjoy the conversation and each other.

The first step to improving your listening skills is to recognize the issue. 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 CA94583  (925) 394-4646

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