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Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

two couples conversing over lunch

It is no secret that you need your sense of hearing to communicate effectively with others as –   such, experiencing hearing loss can make engaging in everyday conversations challenging and frustrating. The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says adults aged 60-69 experience the most hearing loss. Using hearing aids may help you hear better but relying on the communication tactics in this article can complement your hearing device's efforts, alleviate stress and improve your overall communication.

Face others when they are speaking

Many experts recommend this tactic if you struggle with communication due to hearing loss. Try to be in the same room with others when communicating because attempting to hear them from another room may be challenging. Also, maintain eye contact with others when speaking. Eye contact makes you see people's faces and lips as they communicate in real-time. Therefore, it is easier to read their facial expression and lips to get a fair idea of what they are saying. 

Several audiologists agree that relying on these visual cues helps you communicate, so remember to always look people in the eye when interacting with them.

Gain people's attention

It may be prudent to make people aware of your challenge before starting any conversation to ease any social anxiety or burden. Many audiologists suggest being specific about your challenge's nature instead of making a generic statement like I am hard of hearing. Generic information like this makes people aware of your challenge but doesn't give any specific advice for how they can best help you. Also, be assertive and clear always about your particular needs when interacting with others. You can say their name or place your hand on their shoulder as a start and explain what you need them to do gently. 

People are almost always more than happy to oblige with your request, so keep this in mind to reduce frustration and confusion at both ends when you communicate.

Get an assisted hearing device

Using an assisted hearing device may also be a great way to combat hearing loss-induced challenges. An audiologist can help you find particular products that best address your needs, so it would help to see one to find the best solution for you. A hearing aid is perhaps the most common assisted hearing and communication device you will receive from your audiologists. These devices act like your personal public address system, amplifying the sound around you. Hearing aids come in different forms like in the canal (ITC), or behind-the-ear (BTE), so you can choose the type that works best for you. 

A reported 80% of people with hearing loss report benefiting from hearing aids, so they are undoubtedly worth considering. Personal amplifiers, infrared headsets and telephones that display all conversations on a screen are also worth looking into to enhance your communication.

Ask for clarification

Since your hearing loss robs you of your clarity, it would help if you stress clarity when communicating with others to improve your interactions. Therefore, if you miss what people say, redirect them to repeat what you specifically missed instead of shouting, what did you say? or I can't hear you! You can say what you think you heard instead as an alternative to repeatedly saying what? or asking for repetitions. Sometimes, the speaker's choice of words may be unclear, no matter how many repetitions you insist on. Several audiologists suggest requesting the speaker to rephrase what they are saying to help with your comprehension in such situations.

Pay attention and remain calm

It is vital to pay attention anytime you interact, so keep this in mind to improve your communication. Your undivided attention is necessary to pick up the body language cues discussed earlier. If you miss any words, you may become tense, making it even more challenging to keep up with the speaker's words. Also, patience can help with communication. All conversations require patience, but this is more crucial if you experience hearing loss. 

Consequently, understand that you and the people you interact with may need time and practice to adjust to communicating effectively; allow time and grace at both ends of your communication for optimum results.

Limit background noise and other distractions

Audiologists recommend limiting any background noise or other distractions before engaging in any conversation as noise impedes clarity. Therefore, move away from your television, radio or any distracting sound to improve your clarity. You can turn off the distraction's source if possible as a more convenient option. Should you go out to dine, always ask for a table far from the kitchen, entranceway and large parties. Distractions like texting, smoking and chewing gum may also take your attention from focusing on what people say. As such, consider eliminating any such distractions to help you remain focused while communicating.

Why choose Sparks Hearing and Balance?

Our brand remains committed to providing top-notch audiological services to you and anyone else experiencing hearing loss. Our friendly team of dedicated and experienced audiologists is here to address a broad range of hearing difficulties with personalized solutions that will improve your hearing.

Please give us a call at 755-336-0211 to learn more.