Hello and welcome to Better Hearing & Speech Awareness month!
To mark this special occasion, the team here at Clarity Hearing have cobbled together their wisdom and put their best tips forward for communicating with ease, which we hope will be of use to those of you suffering from hearing loss and their families.
So, why is this important?
With over 20 million Americans suffering from some form of hearing loss, more and more people are becoming affected by how this impacts their lives – most notably, through their interactions with others.
Not everyone quite “gets” the frustration felt by those who have to keep on asking for repeats or misunderstanding things altogether, so this is a helpful guide aimed at those who want to be able to understand (the hard of hearing listener) and those who want to be understood (the speaker). After all, having trouble hearing is nothing to be ashamed of and just takes a few simple steps to manage it.
Communication tips for those with hearing loss
- Tell the person you’re speaking to that you have trouble hearing and that you tend to lip-read.
- Don’t stand too far away – it’s better to be able to clearly see the person’s lips.
- If your hearing isn’t the same in both ears, don’t be afraid to ask the speaker to stand on your good side.
- If you don’t quite catch what they say, don’t be embarrassed to ask them to repeat it.
- If necessary, ask the speaker to slow down if you feel they’re talking too quickly.
Mutual understanding involves both the listener and the speaker to be active participants in the conversation.
Communication tips for the speaker/talking to a listener with hearing loss
- Get the person’s attention before you start talking.
- Try to be at the same eye level so the person can read your lips if necessary and use facial expressions and hand gestures.
- Keep your face in the light and avoid being in the shadows (if possible!).
- Try to avoid drinking, eating, or chewing gum while talking.
- If you can, stay put and don’t walk around.
A few bonus tips! Social Situations
When in a social situation, bear in mind that a hard of hearing person might be struggling.
Three more ways a speaker can delicately ensure a hard of hearing listener is comfortable and included in the conversation is to:
- Repeat someone’s comments or suggestions so the hard of hearing person can have two chances to understand what is being said.
- Tactfully ask the hard of hearing person leading questions so you know they’ve understood what was being said.
- Gently ask the listener if there’s anything you can do to help them in the social situation.
Although simple (and mostly common sense) these tips can go a long way to helping you, as the person struggling to hear, to understand more effectively, while also giving the tools for better communication to the speaker.
Do let us know if you have any more useful tips that we can share!
From all of us here at Clarity, we wish you a pleasant day and hope to hear from you soon.
If you’re concerned about a loved one or you are having trouble hearing properly, then do contact us for some friendly advice.
We’ll be all too happy to hear from you.
From your friends at Clarity Hearing.
Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.