Conversing Efficiently Despite Hearing DamageAugust 15, 2017
Every relationship depends heavily on efficient communication in order to be successful, be it your romantic partner, family, friends, or children. Hearing loss can interfere with effective communication and lead to disruptions in interpersonal relationships.
Hearing loss can result in one partner feeling unheard and the other partner frustrated and exhausted at trying to constantly decipher what their partner is saying. This is why hearing loss affects not only the person suffering from it but the entire family.
Lack of communication is often an unfortunate side effect of hearing loss. Due to the constant fear of embarrassment and frustration of being unable to hear properly, people with hearing problems often become reclusive. Partners may stop talking to their hearing-impaired spouse out of exasperation of having to repeat themselves constantly. Hearing loss does not need to hamper your relationships due to lack of communication. You can take some proactive measures to learn how to communicate effectively despite having hearing loss. For those who are in contact with people who have a hearing problem can also utilize some recommendations that can strengthen their communication skills.
People with hearing loss can benefit from relying on other contextual and visual clues during conversations by observing their speaker. Using the remainder of their hearing would also be more effective if they turned down any background noise and shutting any open windows or doors. Hearing-impaired individuals can also position themselves in a manner so that they are close in proximity to their speaker and away from any background noise.
In case you need to ask someone to repeat themselves, be specific regarding the part you missed and ask them to rephrase in case you were unable to understand their specific words. Make sure you wear your hearing aids consistently to enable smoother communication. You can also take a proactive role in conversations by paraphrasing what you heard so that you can double check that you actually understood what was communicated. Be patient with yourself and others who are communicating with you.
For people who want to learn how to effectively communicate with hearing-impaired individuals, the following recommendations may prove to be useful. Make sure you speak in a clear, slow manner. Do not exaggerate or excessively slow down your speech as this may appear condescending and make it harder for the hearing-impaired person to understand what you are saying.
Make sure you face the hearing-impaired individual and have their undivided attention before you begin speaking. Being face to face enables those with hearing loss to utilize your visual cues and body language. You may need to tap them on their shoulder gently if they do not respond to your calling out their name from behind. Even though you may need to raise your voice slightly to be heard, do not shout and make sure to enunciate your words correctly to prevent distortion and confusion.
Make sure nothing is obstructing your face and mouth when you are speaking. Also ensure that any visual distractions are minimal and that you have decreased any background noise before speaking. Do not keep repeating the same sentence if you can tell the person in front of you is unable to hear it correctly. Instead, you can choose different words and rephrase what you are trying to say. After you finish communicating you can make sure that the hearing-impaired individual heard you correctly by asking them to paraphrase what they heard. Please be patient in your approach.