Tips for Better Communication with Hearing Loss
Getting used to hearing loss can take time, and it isn’t always easy. Not only do you have the process of finding, fitting, and adjusting to a hearing aid to get through, but you also have your friends and family to consider. You may have had trouble understanding and communicating with them for some time, now, but now that the cause is clear, being open about it and asking them to accommodate to it takes some courage. But here we’re going to look at a few tips that can make that transition all the smoother and help you communicate much better with your family.
Be upfront about your hearing loss
It’s easy to be shy about hearing loss at first. It can feel like placing an extra burden on your friends and family to communicate with them. However, it’s much more burdensome than trying to communicate and being unable to understand them. Making it clear to people who aren’t yet informed is one thing. However, you should expect that even your friends and family are going to forget about your hearing loss and the steps they already know that can help them better communicate with you. It’s only natural so, in that event, simply remind them before carrying on with the conversation.
Be specific with your needs
As you come to learn more about your own hearing loss, you will likely learn which conditions better help you understand speech. For instance, you might find that a better lit area and the ability to more clearly see the person’s face helps you understand them. Or, you might find that a quieter environment works clearly. The more specific that you are about your needs and how people can better talk to you, the easier it will be for them to adjust and communicate more clearly with you.
Help them feel at ease about communicating with you
There’s a good chance that you will be one of the first people with hearing loss that friends, family, acquaintances, and new faces have ever met. Aside from not being aware of the best way to communicate with you, they may also not be aware of what could potentially be a breach of etiquette. If you’re comfortable and upfront with your hearing loss, it can help them be comfortable, too. Simply informing them that they can ask you about it, can catch your attention if you don’t hear something, or take other steps to be more easily understood can help them engage you in conversation much more naturally.
The importance of catching your attention
People naturally start talking to others without having taken their time to catch their attention beforehand. It is likely to happen to you more often than you might like. Someone could start getting into a full-blown conversation, only for you to notice partway through and be at a loss as to what they are talking about. Don’t be afraid to interrupt them and ask them to repeat themselves politely. Inform them that you can’t understand them unless they catch your attention first. Whether you are comfortable with a tap on the shoulder, a touch on the arm, or you can hear them if they call your name first, it’s best to recommend a method so that they’re comfortable with doing it instead of wondering how to do it.
Go with the flow of the conversation
In some cases, such as talking with a medical professional, being able to make out every word is important. However, in more casual, social situations, repeatedly asking for clarification can feel awkward. Missing a word or two may be fine if you’re able to piece it together from the next sentence or two. If you do have to ask for clarification, repeat what you hear so that the other doesn’t have to repeat themselves as much and can simply fill in the gaps. If you don’t want to interrupt them, you can indicate that they need to speak louder or more clearly with non-verbal cues like cupping your ear or leaning closer, too.
Make sure you’re wearing the right hearing aids
If you’re ever uncertain about whether your hearing aids are doing their job well or you simply want more advice on how to care for and use them, don’t hesitate to ask your hearing instrument specialist. You can get in touch with Hearing Specialists by calling us at one of our convenient locations: Burlington: 336-226-4202, Asheville: 828-298-9174, Kernersville: 336-993-6887, Hendersonville: 828-696-4862, Winston-Salem: 336-377-3715.