People with full hearing sometimes struggle to understand how confusing, frustrating and alienating hearing loss can be. Even a person with hearing aids may still struggle to follow a conversation.
If somebody you love has hearing loss there are communication strategies you can employ to ensure they can clearly understand and contribute to the conversation.
Before you begin a conversation get the listener’s attention. If they are not looking directly at you a wave or polite tap on the arm should do the trick.
For people with hearing loss sight is a helpful factor in determining what is being said. So that they can see what you are saying position yourself to face them directly, in good light and on the same level. If they have better hearing in one ear, make sure you are closer to that side. Do not try to call out to the person from another room, as this will only cause confusion.
Speak clearly, slowly and naturally. Remember to enunciate your words, as it can be hard to make out what you are saying if you mumble. Keep you hands away from your face and avoid chewing gum or eating while talking.
Try to conduct the conversation in quite room as background noise can make it difficult to hear. Similarly if you are talking in a group take turns talking rather than speaking over the top of each other. This will help to avoid confusion. Pay attention, if the person with hearing loss does seem confused, it may be a sign you need to slow down and speak more clearly.
Remember, shouting and over-exaggerated facial expressions and mouth movements will not help the situation. These will only appear rude and lead to more confusion.
Finally, the best thing you can do is to take it slow. Make sure if the person you are communicating with has trouble hearing you they have a chance to say so. Communication goes both ways so if you approach the situation together it should work out for the best