While every sense is important, hearing is one that really involves more than just you. It involves communication with others. While hearing aids can help improve communication between you and your loved one, they affect different users differently.
So how should you best communicate with a loved one with hearing loss? Here are a few tips:
Hands Away From Face
Most listeners that have hearing loss lip-read. That’s because lip reading helps people with hearing loss recognize speech sounds that are hard to hear but easy to see. That means when talking to a loved one with hearing loss, try to keep your hands away from your face. It will provide you with clearer speech and make it much easier for the listener to lip read.
Gain Their Attention With Touch
Before you begin speaking you may want to touch the listener’s hand, arm or shoulder. You can also try to grab their attention with a brief hand wave. These signs will provide an invitation to the person with hearing loss that a conversation has been initiated.
One At A Time
This is mostly relevant when there is a group of people involved in a conversation, but can also occur if multiple conversations are occurring at the same time. If one person is hard of hearing in the group make sure only one person is speaking at a time. That doesn’t mean you should not include people, just make sure no one is talking above another. It can be quite difficult for a person with a hearing loss to comprehend and make it even harder for a person that has untreated hearing loss.
Eye Contact Needs To Be Maintained
Eye contact is extremely important when speaking to a loved one with hearing loss. That is because facial expressions and body language will now serve as vital communication cues for the hearing loss individuals. More than 70% of communication is actually non-verbal body language and visual cues, making this a vital part of interacting with others.
Probably the most important trait when communicating with a loved one with hearing difficulties is patience. Being patient will ensure listeners that you respect them and are staying positive while interacting with them.
Remember, these are just tips; every individual with hearing loss should be treated uniquely. For additional ideas and assistance on how to best communicate with people that have hearing loss, visit KSAudiology.com or contact us at (585) 432-4480.