If a loved one has recently been diagnosed with some form of hearing loss, you may be at a loss on how to communicate with them. You want to make sure that you are being non-offensive and using good communication strategies to help them feel comfortable and stress-free.
Here are some of Dr. Nikki’s, a top rated audiologist in Omaha, Nebraska, do’s and don’ts to help limit misunderstandings and strengthen relationships.
DO: Face the person directly when talking
When someone is hard of hearing, you may notice they stare at your lips a lot more. This is because the information they miss can sometimes be picked up through lip reading and provide missing context. By looking at them head on, they can more clearly see that you are talking to them and read your lips if needed.
DON’T: Start talking from another room
Calling out something from another room can make what you’re saying harder to hear. Sounds can get mixed up with other noises and make your words impossible to understand. Plus, if you are initiating a conversation, they may not even realize that you are speaking to them.
DO: Rephrase what you are saying
Being asked to repeat yourself multiple times is not fun for either party involved. If there is a certain word or phrase that someone is having trouble understanding, try rephrasing or rewording the original statement. It can be helpful to know the consonant sounds that are hardest for people with hearing loss to understand.
DON’T: Get frustrated
Maintaining a positive attitude will help the conversation flow easier. It’s important to not get upset and instead ask what you can do to help to improve the situation. They may ask you to slow down your rate of speech or look directly at them, which are easy accommodations. Understand the person is working hard to hear you and they will really appreciate you showing you care enough to be patient with as they try to sort out what you’re saying given their ears are only giving them limited sound.
DO: Reduce background noise
Even people who don’t experience hearing loss can have trouble understanding what is being said in a noisy environment. A top rated audiologist is going to recommend that you move to another setting if the one you are in is too loud. Make sure to turn down the radio or tv, or whatever other noise is competing with the sound of your voice.
DON’T: Resort to shouting
This tends to circle back to keeping a positive attitude. Shouting can give off the impression that you are angry or being rude. It changes your facial expressions and can make non-verbal cues hard to follow. It can even distort the sounds and make it harder for them to understand you. Shouting can also be off-putting and make it so the other person does not want to continue the conversation.
DO: Encourage them to visit a top rated audiologist
No one has to live with hearing loss. There are a lot of effective treatment plans out there that can slow the progression of hearing loss and in turn other diseases. Help them to return to conversations, hear the punchline in jokes, and increase their quality of life.
DON’T: Let them believe the stigma
Hearing aid stigma is real. People believe many myths surrounding hearing aids and hearing loss. You can help them to not fall for it by showing them different invisible hearing aid options and letting them know that you are always there for them.
Dr. Nikki is a top rated audiologist who can help you or a loved one take control of your hearing health! Just contact us to make an appointment.