Chances are, there’s someone in your life with significant hearing loss. If that’s the case, it’s also likely that you’ve struggled to communicate with them in the past. Hearing loss has many downsides, but chief among them is how it interferes with interpersonal connections. It can be undeniably difficult to make the hard of hearing feel included. With Thanksgiving only a week away, this concern is especially pertinent. That’s why we’ve laid out some tips for communicating with the hard of hearing.
Do Not Shout
For many people, the first instinct when communicating with the hard of hearing is to shout. This may do more harm than good. It is probably helpful to raise your voice beyond the volume with which you would speak to others, but don’t do so too much.
If you end up shouting, you’re likely making it harder for the hard of hearing to understand. Especially if your loved one uses hearing aids, this just causes distortion. Instead, just focus on annunciating. Speak your words as clearly as you can—not too fast, and not too slow.
Don’t Cover Your Face
Of course, Covid-19 has made face coverings the norm. But when the pandemic subsides, do your best not to cover your face around the hard of hearing. We don’t mean masks. In general, try to keep your hands or other obstructions away from your face.
The hard of hearing can’t rely on lip-reading, but it does help to fill in the blanks when they can’t hear you properly. Do everything you can to make sure your loved one can see your face. Make eye contact with them throughout the conversation. Also, ensure that you are in a well-lit space.
Reduce Background Noise
To the hard of hearing, few things can be more disruptive than background noise. If you’re planning an outing with your loved one, do your best to select quiet settings.
If you arrive at the destination—let’s say, a restaurant—and find that it’s too loud for comfort, ask to be seated in the quietest area they have. If all else fails, go to a different business. That inconvenience is undoubtedly preferable to making your loved one feel isolated.
If you’re hosting a gathering yourself, you have more control. Turn down the music, or turn it off completely. Do the same to the television. The quieter the space is, the better.
Communicating with the hard of hearing comes with a slew of challenges. But you should go out of your way to make them feel included. We hope that these tips will help you do exactly that.
Contact Bay Area Audiology Today
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.
Don’t hesitate–we can help.