So someone in your family has a hearing loss? Here are some tips to help with the communication breakdowns that are bound to happen.
Last week’s blog post was dedicated to the topic of issues people with hearing loss have in effectively communication. Because communication is a two-way street, it is important for those that are communicating with people with hearing loss know some important strategies to help alleviate those pesky communication breakdowns.
Here are some helpful tips to help you have better communication with your family member!
- Do they already have a hearing aid? IF so…Please don’t shout at them! Talking much louder will not help them understand you better when they have a hearing aid on. In fact you may sound too loud and distorted, just speak clearly and at a comfortable level.
- When talking with your family member, do your best to slow down your rate of speech.
- – For example: “Doyawannagoouttoeat?” versus “Do you want to go out to eat?”
- Remember that they will have an easier time understanding what you say if you look at them and they can clearly see your face.
- – Face them, make sure the room lighting is good.
- Visual speech cues are important for people with hearing loss, so do not block the view of your mouth.
- – Sometimes resting a hand near your mouth, chewing gum or even facial hair can make speech reading more difficult.
- If you are asked to repeat yourself (and you probably will be asked), don’t get frustrated and say it louder—instead try to rephrase or say it differently.
- – Often rephrasing instead of simply repeated gets the message across
- Try to minimize the distance between you and your family member; don’t try to have a conversation from another room or across the room.
- Remember that hearing aids should help your family member with their hearing loss, but will NOT restore it back to normal; they may still have some difficulty understanding you
- Do your best to minimize distractions when you are trying to have a conversation with your family member
- – Some examples: turn down the TV, turn off the sink, roll up the windows in the car, sit by a wall or in a booth at a restaurant
- Try not to change the topic of conversation suddenly; it will be easier for your family member to follow along if the topic is clear and consistent.
- Have patience, it is going to take time for both you and your family member to adjust to hearing loss and/or hearing aids.