What Did You Just Say?: Tips for Communicating Better With Hearing LossPublished On: 21st March 2019
Last Updated On: 22nd March 2019
Hearing loss is a significant disability in the United States. Around 15% of adults report experiencing some kind of hearing loss issue.
Hearing loss can significantly impact the way you live your life. It makes communication difficult and might lead to you avoiding certain activities.
If you suffer from this condition, here are some hearing loss help tips that’ll help with communication.
Find Somewhere Quiet
You’ll find that you probably struggle in loud environments. For example, a crowded bar blasting music can become unbearable quickly.
Background noise can also overpower certain elements of human speech, making it difficult to understand. This happens to everyone, but the threshold for people with hearing loss is lowered, depending on the severity of their condition.
If you have hearing loss and want to talk to someone, you should consider doing it in a quiet place. That way, there’s nothing to overpower the sound of your voices. It’ll also feel better for you both physically and mentally.
Ask People Not to Just Repeat Themselves
One mistake people often make is simply repeating the same thing over and over again. If a person says something twice and you still don’t understand, they should consider saying what they’re trying to convey differently.
They should also consider using simpler words when you ‘re having a conversation with them This will make it easier for you to understand them.
Ensure People Understand Your Condition
Not all kinds of hearing loss are the same. In fact, there are many different types of hearing loss.
For instance, some people only have problems in one specific ear. This means you can bypass any hearing issues by simply standing on the correct side of the person.
Sometimes, making small changes to the way you speak and act towards someone with hearing loss can make a big difference to being heard and understood. Make sure you tell the person who’s trying to talk to you about your condition. They’ll most likely appreciate it and you’ll probably be able to give them some useful information.
Make Sure People Look at You
Non-verbal cues make up a lot of our communication. People with hearing loss rely on this much more than the average person. This means if you don’t make eye contact with someone who has hearing loss, you’re making the conversation more difficult for them.
Make sure people always make eye contact with you. This will enable you to read their facial expressions and possibly read their lips. If you have hearing loss, trying to talk to someone when you’re both not looking at each other will probably prove to be difficult.
Make Sure People Get Your Attention First
One of the biggest mistakes people make when interacting with people with hearing loss is they just start talking without getting your attention. Without getting your attention first, it might not even register that they’re talking to you. This can result in frustration on both sides of the conversation.
The more serious the hearing loss, the more important this is.
Tell People Not to Obscure Their Faces
Many people with hearing loss rely on visual cues to understand what’s being said. For example, they might have the ability to read lips. They might also use facial expressions to infer what’s being said.
You should request that whoever you’re talking to has their face clearly visible to you when they’re talking. They might think this sounds like an odd tip, but people probably obscure their faces a lot more than they realize. For example, when you’re drinking, you raise the glass to your lips and then cover most of your face.
Have People Speak Louder But Not Aggressively
Some people have difficulty raising their voices without it coming across as aggressive. This can be a problem, as it makes you feel like you’ve angered the other person.
If someone sounds angry when they raise their voice, you could consider gently pointing it out to them. For a lot of people, this is involuntary and they might not even realize they’re doing it. If people have to really shout for you to hear them, you should consider hearing aids.
Trying to communicate with hearing loss can test your patience at times. Always try to be patient and don’t get frustrated.
This can be a problem if you’ve recently developed hearing loss. You should know that it can take some time to adjust to your new levels of hearing.
If you’ve suddenly lost some of your hearing, it can seem a lot worse in the initial stages. Over time, your brain will start to compensate and you’ll be able to hear things more clearly.
If your hearing loss is more severe, you may have to change some things in your life. While this can be an upsetting experience, you’ll be surprised how quickly you learn to adapt.
Get There Early
If you’re meeting up with friends somewhere and you have hearing loss, you should consider arriving at the venue early. This can give you an opportunity to get situated and find the best place to sit.
When you have hearing loss, you’ll find that certain seating arrangements are less suitable. For example, long tables that put a lot of distance between you and other people should be avoided, as this will make it harder to hear people.
You should also avoid tables underneath music speakers or TVs, as this will add unnecessary background noise and make it more difficult to communicate.
For Serious Hearing Loss Help, Consider Hearing Aids
There comes a point where you can’t compensate for your hearing loss by changing the way you live. If your hearing loss is more severe, you may want to consider getting hearing aids.
The days of bulky and obvious hearing aids are long gone. These days, you can barely even tell that someone has them in. If your hearing loss has gotten serious, consider going to see an audiologist and saying you need hearing loss help.
Not sure if you have hearing loss? Here are 12 signs that you need your hearing checked.