Experiencing hearing loss can be a big challenge, but so can trying to communicate with a friend or loved one who is going through it.
If you are struggling with your attempts to communicate with someone who has a hearing loss, here are a few tips that may help:
Begin by situating yourself appropriately
- Avoid noisy backgrounds
- Have the light on your face and avoid being backlit or having light shining in the other person’s eyes
- Face the person directly on the same level
- Do not talk to them from the other room
- If they hear better in one ear than the other, position yourself accordingly.
- When the acoustics are sub-par, be sure to accentuate the visual
Adopt effective communication strategies
- Before beginning a conversation, say the person’s name so they can focus their attention on you.
- Be sure to speak clearly, at a moderate pace, and avoid sentences that are too complex.
- Speak naturally. Don’t exaggerate mouth movements or shout.
- Use non-verbal communication, like facial expressions and gestures, to convey what you are trying to say
- Avoid chewing food or gum or hiding your mouth with your hand or napkin while talking.
- Pause between sentences or phrases and wait until you are sure you have been understood before continuing.
- Make it clear you are changing the subject by saying “new subject”
- If you are giving specific information, like time, place or phone numbers, be sure to have them repeat the specifics back to you. Or, provide the pertinent information in writing.
- If you believe you aren’t being understood, re-phrase what you are saying.
- Stay positive and maintain a sense of humor
- Be relaxed and remain patient
- Be respectful and work towards achieving a success conversation flow
- Take turns speaking and avoid interrupting.
- Recognize that everyone has a harder time hearing and understanding when ill or tired.
- Try to avoid saying “nevermind, it wasn’t important” when the person can’t hear you. This can feel dismissive to some. Try to re-phrase.
Hearing loss impacts more than just the person who is suffering from it. Striving towards better communication with your friend or loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, will help you both maintain a positive relationship and work through this difficult situation together.
Palm Beach Sleep and Sinus, under the direction of Mark T. Agrama, MD, is dedicated to the medical and surgical treatment of adult sleep, sinus and nose disorders. State of the art diagnostic protocols such as Home Sleep Studies, Laboratory Sleep Studies, Nasal Endoscopy, Video Flexible Laryngoscopy, Video Stroboscopy, Sleep Endoscopy, and CT Scan Imaging help us analyze our patient’s condition. Our mission is the optimization of Sleep and Sinus health for our patients using a comprehensive and individualized plan designed for long-term success. To discuss hearing loss, please contact us online or call 561-624-5311.