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Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans have hearing loss? This means it’s likely that you know someone who has trouble hearing. This could be a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor. Hearing aids go a long way in helping those with hearing loss catch all the sounds around them. And there are also a few ways to accommodate your loved one with hearing loss, and make it easier for them to hear.
If you have a loved one with hearing loss, one of the best ways you can help them hear is by being patient. Your loved one may need a bit of extra time to process what’s being said, or they may ask you to repeat something. Clear communication happens when you’re able to be patient and empathetic. Try not to get upset when your loved one misunderstands you, and be willing to repeat whatever they haven’t heard.
When talking to someone with hearing loss, remember the communication basics. These tips can make it easier for your loved one to hear and understand what you’ve said. The communication basics include:
- Getting their attention before you start talking. If your loved one missed the first sentence, they’ll have a much harder time following anything you’ll say next. Call their name or wave to get their attention before you begin the conversation.
- Avoiding raising your voice if they don’t understand you. Shouting doesn’t actually make it easier to hear. Instead, try to speak as clearly as possible, and leave a few more pauses between sentences or phrases to give you loved one time to process what you’re saying.
- Rephrasing rather than repeating what you’ve said. If your loved one didn’t understand it the first time, they might not get it the second time either. Instead of repeating the exact same words, rephrase what you said so they’ll have a better chance of understanding you.
- Providing context for the conversation. This will help your loved one catch what you’re saying. When they know the topic, it will help them follow the conversation. Avoid changing topics too quickly, and start a new topic by clearly identifying what you’re talking about.
- Offering to write something down if they have a hard time hearing it. For important information like a date or time, it’s a good idea to send a text or write a note so your loved one can see the details in writing. This helps reduce confusion and frustration.
People with hearing loss have a harder time hearing in places with a lot of background noise. One great way to accommodate your loved ones with hearing loss is by changing the environmental factors. When going out to dinner, suggest a quiet restaurant that doesn’t play loud music. At home, turn off the TV or radio when you want to have a conversation.
Another way to help your loved one is by simply turning on more lights. Try to have conversations in brightly lit rooms, and make sure the light is shining on your face. People with hearing loss rely on facial expressions and even lip reading to make sense of what’s being said. Seeing your face gives them more clues about what you’re saying and how you’re feeling.
Ask Your Loved One What Helps
If your loved one has hearing loss, they probably have some ideas about what helps them hear. To accommodate your loved one, ask them what you can do to help. For example, they may ask that you always face them when speaking, and that you try to speak as clearly as possible. Another common request is to avoid covering your mouth or face.
Encourage Them to Have a Hearing Test
Does your loved one wear a hearing aid that hasn’t been readjusted in a while? Or maybe they’ve never had a hearing test and don’t wear a hearing aid at all! If you’ve noticed that your loved one has a hard time hearing, encourage them to book an appointment for a hearing test and learn more about their hearing health.
We’re here to help. Our hearing health specialists will provide support and encouragement at every step of the way. Contact us today!