Effectively communicating with someone who has hearing loss can require both you and the person with hearing loss to learn new strategies. Because, while hearing aids improve a person’s capacity to hear, they are not a perfect replacement for an individual’s natural hearing.
To accommodate these changes, here are some communication tips and tricks our hearing instrument specialists here at Hearing Associates of Las Vegas share with our patients and their loved ones.
Get Their Attention Before Speaking
Even for those who don’t have a hearing impairment, it can be tough to catch when someone is talking to you when you don’t expect it. For someone with hearing loss, both parties are pretty sure to be frustrated by any attempts to communicate without getting the other person’s attention first.
So, to make things easier on yourself and the person with hearing loss, make sure you have their attention before starting to speak. It can be as simple as tapping them on the shoulder, but it is best that you wait for the body language and verbal cues that signal that the person with hearing loss is ready to listen to you.
Stick To Face-To-Face Communication
There are several reasons why you should stick to face-to-face communication when talking to someone with hearing loss. For one thing, by facing the person with hearing loss, you can be more sure that you have their attention. Also, by being able to watch your face, the person with hearing loss can do some basic lip-reading and watch your body language to help keep up with the conversation.
Another thing to remember is that many hearing aids are designed to capture sound directly in front of the wearer. So, if you try to speak from the side or from behind, a person wearing hearing aids may not catch all of your words.
Speak Clearly And Be Careful To Enunciate
Now, you don’t have to talk slowly or shout your words to speak to someone with hearing loss. Not only would that come off as somewhat rude, but it doesn’t really help the person with hearing loss hear you any better.
While you shouldn’t rush your words, it is best if you speak at a modulated pace so that you can clearly enunciate your words.
Advocate For Hearing Aid Use
Sometimes, our loved ones are reluctant to use their hearing aids, which can make communication difficult. If your loved one has hearing aids they aren’t using, try and help them get over what is holding them back from using their hearing aids.
It may be that your loved one finds their hearing aids uncomfortable. In the case of uncomfortable hearing aids, many new hearing aid users can feel overwhelmed by all the sounds they can now hear. By wearing their hearing aids starting with a few hours a day and building up to longer periods, your loved one can become more comfortable with their hearing aids.
Also, if they continue to find their hearing aids uncomfortable, they can always visit us at one of our hearing clinics. Our hearing instrument specialists can make adjustments to the hearing aids to help ease the discomfort, then reprogram the hearing aids when your loved one is more comfortable.
Reduce Background Sounds When Possible
Hearing what someone else is saying with background sounds is tough even if you don’t have any hearing impairment. But for those who do have hearing loss, any amount of background sound can pose a serious difficulty in hearing what you have to say, as the background sounds tend to scatter the sounds of regular conversation.
Whenever possible, reduce the background noise. That may look like asking restaurant staff to turn down the music or going to a separate area where there is less noise so that you can communicate clearly.
Rephrase What You Said When Needed
Rather than continuously repeating the same thing to someone with hearing loss, it may help to rephrase what you said. Hearing loss isn’t just a matter of lower ability to hear. Sometimes, depending on the extent of the hearing impairment, the brain can have lost the ability to understand certain words.
To compensate for the loss in comprehension and vocabulary, try to rephrase what you have said to the person with hearing loss. You likely will have more success in communicating and less frustration for both you and the person with hearing loss.
Encourage Hearing Evaluation For Loved One In Denial
Sometimes, it can be clear that your loved one has hearing loss, but is in denial. While being kind and understanding of their reservations, encourage them to have a hearing evaluation.
As untreated hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, it is essential that treatment is implemented as soon as possible.
To schedule a hearing evaluation, or to take advantage of our other hearing services, feel free to contact us today to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you or your loved one enjoy the best hearing possible!