Tips for Better Communication with People with Hearing Loss

Tips for Better Communication with People with Hearing Loss

In Communication, Friends & Family, Hearing Loss, Resource, Tips & Tricks by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

Hearing loss greatly impacts the way that we communicate in the world. We may find that what we used to be able to pick up during normal conversation becomes a challenge. Background noise may distort sounds and make it hard for you to be fully engaged. People with untreated hearing loss may feel heightened stress, frustration, and even anger. They may also be at a higher risk to increased falls, depression, and even dementia. Getting your hearing tested and fitted with a hearing device greatly improves one’s hearing health. Although it won’t fully bring back all hearing loss, it will be able to amplify sounds that you may miss without one.

Even if you’re using a hearing aid, making conversation in nosier environments may remain difficult. The reason for this is that hearing instruments are pre-programmed for specific settings, making it challenging to decipher between voices in other environments. As such, here are some tips that will add to improved communication for all parties—for both non-hard of hearing and hard of hearing—involved in conversation.

Tips for Those Communicating with Someone with Hearing Loss:

Keep a Close Distance, Be Face-to-Face, and Maintain Eye Contact

Keeping a close distance and being face-to-face is important when engaged in conversation with someone with hearing loss. Likewise, maintaining eye contact is helpful to the conversation as well. Research reveals that people with hearing loss rely on recognition of facial expressions or body language as a method of following the conversation in addition to just verbal cues. It allows the hard of hearing listener to visualize a person’s emotion that is linked to what they’re saying. Equally important, one should stand not too far away from the people with hearing loss. Keeping a close distance optimizes the sound allowing them to follow the conversation better.

Speak Naturally and Calmly

Many people often jump to the conclusion that we must yell or scream words to those with hearing loss. In fact, it’s probably a better approach not to over exaggerate our speech while engaged in conversation with a hard of hearing individual. We should speak naturally and calmly as we normally would with anyone else. Speaking in a much louder tone actually distorts words which make it more challenging for those hard of hearing to comprehend. Equally important is the pace at which we speak. It is important to not drastically speed up or slow down what you are saying. If need be, pausing helps the listener process what is be communicated.

Tips for Those Hard of Hearing:

Disclose Your Hearing Loss to Others

Disclosing your hearing loss to others is a challenging process in and of itself. It requires much thought and courage to be able to share such an ailment with those close to you. But one you get to that point, disclosing your hearing loss only helps you further your hearing health. By disclosing to your family and friends, they’ll know how to accommodate your needs and also be a strong support system.

In everyday settings with those less close to you, don’t hesitate to tell people, “Please speak up, I’m struggling with hearing loss and might not pick up what you said.” By doing so, it avoids any preconceived notions of possibly being seen as “weird” or “rude” because your hearing loss might have caused you to ignore someone, miss the heart of the joke, or not seem interested in the conversation.

Be Positive and Proactive and Avoid Believing the Stigmas

It is easy to feel negative and defeated when it comes to hearing loss. Just because your hearing ability may have declined, don’t see your hearing loss as a personal failure, and don’t pay any attention to the stigmas attached to hearing aids. If you have hearing loss, hearing instruments improve your hearing greatly. Try to make as much of your hearing device as you can by getting to know the different settings and asking a hearing health professional if you are unsure about anything.

Get a Hearing Test Today with South Shore Hearing Center Today!

A hearing test is the first step in the right direction of improving your hearing health. If you or a loved one is facing hearing loss, a base line hearing test will be able to identify the level of hearing loss and be able to track your hearing health over time. Don’t wait any longer and make that appointment with one of our hearing health specialists at South Shore Hearing Center today!