June 15, 2016 -- Aisling Smyth
Hearing aids will help you hear better than without hearing aids, however certain situations are more challenging than others and there are things that we can do to optimize listening situations.
- Face the person you are speaking with
- Have good lighting
- Reduce the amount of background noise; for example, turn off the radio or TV in the background.
- Speak clearly, not louder.
- Get the person’s attention before you start speaking to them; say their name or tap their shoulder.
- Reduce the distance between you and the listener.
- Pause between sentences.
Communication breakdowns leave both listener and speaker frustrated. If the speaker is talking to you from another room, turning away while they are speaking, or speaking before asking for your attention the listener might reply with “what? speak up.” This breakdown in communication interrupts the natural flow of the conversation and often ends in frustration, or the worst response to say to someone with hearing loss: never mind.
Remember that hearing loss is an invisible disability that already makes social situations stressful and can leave the listener feeling embarrassed or left out of the conversation.
Be empathic, be kind, have compassion for the one with hearing loss.