If you know someone who suffers from hearing loss, then it can be difficult to know how best to communicate in a respectful and non-patronizing way.
This blog’s all about manners and how to communicate effectively and respectfully with a person who has some form of hearing loss.
Rest assured, we’ve put together a really simple anagram that will be your friend should you ever need reminding. Plus, it’ll show the person whom you’re speaking to that you’re sensitive to their needs and care about their feelings – a classic win-win!
When in doubt, SPEAK!
S = Seeing. For somebody with hearing loss, seeing is believing and they tend to be very visual. If in a workplace situation, you can be extra mindful by printing off agendas or anything else that will help others to understand further.
P = Pat on the shoulder. It’s always best to get their attention before you start speaking, as this will eliminate any confusion and the odd case of awkwardness should you not get a response right away!
E = Empty consonants. Depending on the accent, consonants can be difficult to hear at the best of times, never mind for those with hearing loss. Words such as “taste” or “house” have strong “aaaaaa” and “oooo” sounds that are difficult to interpret when the consonants appear empty. Try the best you can to over-pronounce these words.
A = Again and again. If it appears the person you’re speaking with didn’t quite get what you said or it looks like they’re struggling to comprehend entirely, try repeating what you said by rephrasing it. The very fact that person struggled to hear those words in the first place is indication enough that the sounds you were making didn’t quite resonate.
K = Keep close. You want to ensure the person who has hearing loss can see your face when you speak, as more often than not they will lip-read what you say. Ensuring background noise is kept to a minimum and the lighting is good are all ways to enhance this further.
Ultimately, the best manners you can demonstrate to a person with hearing loss is to acknowledge their situation and be respectful of it. Don’t be afraid to ask them what works best for them – they’ll appreciate you thinking of them.
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.