Conversations come easily to most people, but for those with hearing loss problems, it can sometimes be confusing, frustrating and ultimately an uncomfortable experience. Even if the person with a hearing impairment wears hearing aid devices, it is important that other participants in the conversation to use certain communication strategies like the ones suggested below. This will ensure that the person with hearing loss can understand and contribute to the conversation, instead of feeling like a social outcast.
- Make sure to speak clearly, slowly and naturally and enunciate your words.
- Avoid obstructing your face and/or your mouth. Your hands, food and even chewing gum can all make it more difficult to understand what you are saying.
- Do not scream or over-exaggerate facial expressions and mouth movements, as this can appear aggressive and rude, and will most likely lead to confusion.
- Don´t bluff and nod as if you understand when you don´t. It is better to as questions than to continue on the wrong path.
- Get the listener’s attention before addressing them. This can be done with a wave or a polite tap on the arm.
- When in a group conversation, take turns speaking; talking over others might confuse the listener.
- Position yourself to accommodate the person with hearing loss by facing them directly.
- Never say “don’t worry about it” or “it doesn’t matter.” If a person with hearing loss asks you to repeat what was said, do not dismiss them, even if the missed snippet was trivial or inconsequential. This can seem lazy and dismissive, and can lead to the person with hearing loss feeling left out.
- Don’t assume that if someone has hearing aids, they will be able to hear you perfectly. Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal, and the person who is wearing them may still need you to make an effort to communicate effectively.
- Don’t give up! Never forget that communication is a two-way street, so when talking to someone with hearing loss, you have to do your part to make the conversation flow.
These tips should help you and your loved ones with hearing loss communicate better. If you still have any questions about hearing loss, hearing aids or would like to get your hearing tested, contact us at Whisper Hearing Center today and schedule an appointment.