Summertime is a great time of year to connect with the people in your life who you truly love. It’s the long warm hot days of swimming and time outside, ended by skies full of stars and firefly rich nights that help build strong connections even deeper. However, for your loved ones with hearing loss, you may have noticed that you aren’t connecting to them as you may have once in the past. They may seem withdrawn or confused when you are speaking to them, a notable difference, especially for those who were once extraverts. As you prepare to reconnect with the people in your life this summer, consider that those with hearing loss may take some extra care. Here are some tips to accommodate your loved ones with hearing loss.
Even for those who use hearing aids, communication may take a little more focus and intent than it would for those with normal hearing. When many people realize that they are speaking to someone who has hearing loss, one of the first instincts is to speak louder or even shout. This can often make more trouble than you’d expect. Shouting can distort the shape of your mouth.
Many people who have lived with hearing loss for years have learned to incorporate lip reading to supplement what auditory clues they may otherwise miss. However, shouting can make the process of lip reading more difficult. In addition, it can distort speech sounds in general making your intent to communicate with more clarity, more challenging.
We suggest speaking in a clear loud voice, taking care to enunciate speech sounds. It may be helpful to take a quick pause at the end of sentences to give the listener a little more time to process what you’ve said. You may also give a cue when changing subjects to let the listener know that you are changing topics.
Keep a Clear View
It’s amazing how much communication is not only transmitted through auditory cues but visual ones as well. This includes lip reading, but beyond this it is facial expression and body language. It’s the tone as much as what you say. To make sure your loved ones have every tool that they need to hear you clearly, we recommend making sure they have a clear view of you. It may be tempting to mention an afterthought from another room, but you have no way of knowing if they’ve heard you or not when you do this. Instead make sure you maintain eye contact with them. This way you can know if they look confused or lost in what you are trying to convey. This can allow you to focus on better ways to communicate. In addition, make sure they have good lighting to see you clearly as well.
Part of creating a good environment for communication is eliminating distracting noises that could interfere with clear hearing. This includes turning down the radio and television or waiting to play it until you are not trying to have a conversation. In accordance, you should also wait to run noisy appliances such as the air conditioner, vacuum cleaner, dish washer, blender or washing machine. These extra sounds can make communication so much harder for people with hearing loss. Don’t plan to meet your loved one with hearing loss at a busy restaurant. Instead choose a quiet and calm environment where you and your loved one can be present with each other.
Support your Loved one in Exploring Hearing Aids
Does someone you love to seem to ask you to repeat yourself more and more often? Do they need to turn up the television louder than is comfortable for most everyone else? These are signs of hearing loss. It may seem more obvious to you than to them in many instances because hearing loss is often hard to self-diagnose. You may want to suggest that your loved one schedule a hearing exam with us. Wait for a quiet time and instead of accusing them of hearing loss practice love, clear communication, and patience. Tell them how their hearing loss is affecting you and suggest the first step: a hearing exam with us.
We are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way to promote better hearing and communication. To find out more please contact us today!