As human beings, we rely on our ability to communicate to live, work and maintain relationships with others. It can be anxiety-inducing, frustrating, and isolating when you struggle to communicate. Many people who suffer from hearing loss or hearing impairment struggle to communicate, which can have a devastating impact on their quality of life. In this post, we think about how to help people overcome their hearing impairment barriers, and our Hearing Group experts explain the top five ways to communicate with hard-of-hearing adults.
Unfortunately, around 15% of Americans aged 18 and over report some form of hearing loss. When communicating with these people, it is important to make an effort, adapt how you interact, and be patient. Small changes you make can help make a huge difference to adults with hearing loss and improve their quality of life no end.
Reduce Background Noise
Understanding what has been said is difficult enough without the disruption and distraction caused by loud background noises. When communicating with adults with hearing loss or hearing impairment, it is vital to turn off the television, turn down any music and get away from other people’s conversations. You might also want to choose quieter locations or less crowded areas to minimize the ambient noise around you.
Don’t Cover Your Mouth
Although many people with hearing loss can still hear what you are saying, other visual clues can help them understand exactly what you are saying. By not covering your mouth or chewing gum, you give the person you are talking to the option to lip read, which can be a valuable tool for hearing loss.
Speak Loud and Clear
When speaking to someone with hearing loss, it is essential to pay attention to how you are speaking. That means that you should always enunciate and speak with a clear raised voice and avoid shouting.
Get Their Attention
When you are looking to communicate with someone who has a hearing impairment, it is important to make sure that you have their attention. You can politely get their attention by waving at them, stepping into their line of sight, or gently tapping them on their shoulder. By ensuring that you have their attention, they will be focused on what you are saying.
Find out if One Ear Is Better Than the Other
People with hearing loss will suffer bilateral hearing loss or unilateral hearing loss. Unilateral hearing loss is simply hearing loss in one ear, while bilateral hearing loss is hearing loss in both ears. Before you start speaking to someone with a hearing impairment, you might want to enquire if one ear hears better than the other. If so, speak directly to their better side.
Learning how to communicate with people living with hearing loss takes time. You can use a range of tips and methods, but the key is patience. By being patient, you can develop your relationship and make a massive difference in their life.
If you struggle to communicate with your loved one, book them a hearing appointment at Hearing Group or bring them in to see our local hearing specialists. Don’t forget to put down your contact details or inform them beforehand. This is the best way to avoid any confusion and get their hearing health under control as soon as possible.