Communication is a vital aspect of every well-functioning family unit. Healthy channels of communication strengthen closeness and interaction, as well as empathy and goodwill. People with untreated hearing loss can sometimes have communication difficulties, which can impact their close family relationships. Family members, friends, and loved ones may be frustrated by people with hearing loss and may inadvertently avoid contact due to communication difficulties.
Here is some advice about what you can do to facilitate communication with those in your family who have hearing loss, so that you may help maintain these all-important bonds.
People with hearing loss often feel other people do not understand how hard they are trying. The strain they may exert leads to both emotional and physical fatigue. This is on top of all the challenges in communication with other family members and friends that they experience. Try and remember this, and be as patient as possible.
Remove visual and auditory distractions
Turn the TV off, turn off the radio, or close the window. Removing all background noises will make it easier for your loved ones to hear and ensure everybody can communicate clearly. People with hearing loss have trouble concentrating on speech sounds against background noise.
Get their attention before you speak
Deciphering speech can be hard for people with hearing loss when they are not facing the speaker and can’t see their lips. Visual signs are particularly vital for those with more severe hearing loss.
A simple way to communicate with your loved one who is hard of hearing is to get their attention before talking to them by tapping them on the shoulder.
1. Get closer
Shouting from another room does not help. Get closer to your loved one to facilitate more successful communication. You can pull up a chair, sit down, and be mindful before you start speaking. Communicating takes two people, so make sure both of you are ready before you start.
2. Use non-verbal cues
Implementing some aspects of visual communication will help you better interact with a person with hearing problems. When talking to him or her, use nonverbal signals to explain something that will help him or her understand what you’re saying.
If you’re at a loud venue, for example, like a restaurant or a packed concert, stay close to your loved one and try to position yourself so that they can see your face. Your loved one has a higher chance of recognizing and engaging in what’s been said by observing body language or facial signals.
3. Speech tips
- Use clear speech. Concentrate on your speech clarity, as opposed to volume. That can be done in multiple ways. Instead of dragging the word out, which raises confusion, try increasing your enunciation and inserting pauses between groups of sentences.
- Rephrase. If repeating doesn’t work, then try rephrasing. For instance, if “Let’s go shopping at the supermarket” it doesn’t work, later try “Do you need some food?”.
- Use full sentences. A simple one-word reply can easily be misunderstood.
- Add pauses. Speaking each word slowly doesn’t help the person with hearing loss understand better. It helps to add a pause between important words and pronounce each name as clearly as possible.
- Maintain an average volume. Shouting doesn’t help when the voice sounds distorted to them, to start with. Pause and speak with clarity.
Encourage your loved one to get hearing aids
The American Hearing Loss Association reports that, on average, people wait seven years from the moment they perceive changes in their hearing before seeking care.
When you need to do a lot of work to facilitate communication, It is time to talk about hearing aids and encourage them to get a hearing test.
Support their use of hearing aids
Everyone adjusts differently to hearing aids, and it can require patience. If you know someone who resists wearing their hearing aids once they get them, encourage them as best you can to use them.
At UpState Hearing Instruments, we offer the best hearing aid technology in the world plus our unique Hearing Aid Test Drive(™) process to ensure that your family members get the help they need. Contact us today to arrange a hearing test appointment.
Request a Callback
That’s why we have a hearing care expert available to help.
If you have a question, or would like to speak to a professional privately about the challenges that you may be facing, then simply request a callback and we’ll call you for a friendly no-obligation conversation.