Communication with our loved ones is essential to our health. What do you do if your loved one has hearing loss? Constantly repeating yourself or trying to solve miscommunications is exhausting.
There are several things you can do to make communication easier while speaking to someone with hearing loss:
- Get the person’s attention before speaking. This allows your communication partner to focus on what you say.
- Face the person you are speaking to. We all use facial cues to help us understand speech and communicate intention. This is especially important for those with hearing loss. They need the additional cues our faces provide to understand what is being said.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Speaking loudly doesn’t make your voice any clearer, it only makes it louder. By clearly enunciating your words and speaking in a normal rhythm but at a slower pace, you allow others time to process what you say and fill in any gaps.
- Good communication strategies are especially important at home. It is almost impossible to understand someone who is in another room, walking away from you, trying to talk to you while you are engaged in a noisy activity (doing the dishes), or watching TV or streaming from your phone or tablet. Do not try to communicate from another room in the house.
- Noisy environments make conversations extra challenging. Try to avoid noisy restaurants during peak times and save important conversations for moments when you can step away from the background noise.
Understand that there are situations where communication will be difficult even with good communication habits and hearing aid use. Don’t give up! Your loved one should appreciate your persistence and the effort you make to communicate with them. If they’re not already treating their hearing loss, encourage them to schedule a hearing test so they can start their journey toward better hearing.