Having a good talk and laughing with our family and friends is one of life’s pleasures and has been proven to be quite important to our wellbeing but when we have a loved one with a hearing loss, the connection we feel through communication can be lessened.
With May being “Better Hearing Month” month, we thought we would take this opportunity to give you some hints and tips on how you can better communicate with those who suffer with hearing loss and help keep those conversations flowing.
- Get their attention
People who are hard-of-hearing will find it much easier to hear and understand you if you get their attention visually before you start talking. They will find it much easier to hear you and follow the conversation if you are looking at them as you talk. Get their attention by simply waving a hand in their line of sight or gently tapping them on the shoulder.
- Speak clearly and precisely
Clear and well enunciated speech is important when talking to those who are hard-of-hearing. This doesn’t mean you need to shout and speak slowly, as this could come across as patronizing, but try and speak with clarity and good pronunciation.
- Rephrase, don’t repeat
Certain sounds can be difficult for those who are hard-of-hearing to process so if the person you are talking to asks you to repeat yourself, try and rephrase what you have said. That way, if there were any sounds that they were struggling with, a new phrase might be easier for them to understand.
- Take note of your surroundings
When talking to someone with a hearing loss, it’s important to take note of your surroundings. If you’re at home, you can lower the television or music volume before you start a conversation with them. If you’re out and about, try and seat them in quieter areas of restaurants and cafes. Try to limit any external noise and they will find it easier to follow what you are saying.
- Be patient
It can be very frustrating at times dealing with a loved one with a hearing loss. You may need to repeat yourself many times and change a few things in your own life to accommodate them but try and be patient with them. While it’s frustrating for those trying to communicate with them, it can be equally as frustrating, if not more so, for those suffering. They are having to work very hard to fill in blanks in conversations and piece together the information they have in order to communicate with you. Try to be patient with them – they will appreciate it.
If your loved one is suffering with a hearing loss, try to encourage them to visit a hearing clinic and get a hearing test. There are many things that can be done to improve the quality of their lives and here at North Houston Hearing Solutions, we would be happy to help. Simply fill out this form and we can get started.
Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.