If someone you love is suffering from hearing loss, simple conversations and daily experiences can be difficult for them. You can reduce some of this frustration by following these simple tips when you engage in conversation with someone who is hard of hearing. Health and Hearing is exploring a few ways that you can make conversation easier for people with hearing loss.
It Takes a While to Get Used to Hearing Aids
If your friend or family member has recently had hearing aids fitted, it may take them a while to feel comfortable while using them. The connection between hearing loss and communication can often lead to feelings of loneliness and depression for the sufferer; however, you can lessen these risks by following our guide below.
How to communicate with hearing-impaired patients involves:
- Facing them directly – stand at the same level as them and preferably stand in spaces with good lighting
- Not talking from another room – it’s important that the patient can see you so that they can understand you
- Speaking clearly, slowly, distinctly and naturally – do not shout or exaggerate your mouth movements as this can distort the sound
- Getting their attention – say their name before starting a conversation so that they have a chance to focus their attention and they won’t miss the start of what you have to say
- Not speaking quickly or in complex sentences – slow down when you speak, pause between sentences and ensure they have understood before continuing
- Keeping your mouth and face clear – keep your hands away from your face and avoid chewing, smoking or eating while talking
- Remembering their preferred side – if one ear has less damage than the other, remember which side this is and position yourself accordingly
- Minimising background noise – most hearing-impaired people have great difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise
- Avoiding sudden changes in topic – make sure the listener is aware of the general topic of understanding so that they can create mental bridges in places they may have missed
- Asking them to repeat back to you – if the conversation involves important information such as dates or times, ask them to repeat the specifics back to you
- Giving important information in writing – this will give them a reference point to look back at
- Taking turns while speaking – avoid interrupting other speakers or talking over the top of each other
Certain Things to Remember
Everyone, especially hearing impaired people, has a harder time understanding and hearing when they are ill or tired. Make concessions for your loved ones by paying attention to their cues – if they look puzzled, repeat yourself or ask leading questions to ensure they understood.
Book a Hearing Test for Your Loved One
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s hearing or if it seems to be worsening, book a thorough hearing test with Health and Hearing. Effective hearing aids can transform a person’s life and make conversations so much simpler. You can book a free consultation by calling (07) 3366 9355 or contacting us online.