When one person in the family suffers from hearing loss its effects ripple out to everyone and radiates through to all levels of communication. It can be more than just challenging at times and can increase frustrations and create unforeseen stumbling blocks. However, when everyone is in agreement to approach the situation with techniques to keep communication open and flexible many of the obstacles of hearing loss can be overcome.
If you or the person with hearing loss has had a hearing assessment and wearing hearing aids is part of the treatment, wear them consistently and responsibly. Check in with us at All Ear Doctors for tips on how to keep them clean, store them well, program the settings according to your specific needs and have extra batteries handy.
When speaking to a person with hearing impairments, it is best to let them know you need their attention first. You can do this by signaling to them with your hand or touching them gently on the shoulder to alert them if their back is turned. This will allow them and yourself to attend to the task at hand and to pause anything else that might be a distraction. Turn off distracting noise from the TV or radio when at home so that it is easier for all to converse.
Always try and face the person you are speaking to. People with hearing loss often read facial expressions to gauge the tone and nuances of the conversation. If they read lips to supplement their communicative abilities then it is even more important to them that your face is in their full view.
Whilst speaking to the person with hearing loss stay in one place. Don’t turn your back, leave the room or become distracted with other activities that may take away from the interaction. In social situations, this becomes even more important as chances are, they are battling background noise as well so it is important to get closer and to speak and face them directly.
This is difficult to do but with practice, it will get easier. Always be aware that the person with hearing loss has to work much harder to put together sounds that we take for granted. They are constantly working on many different levels to compensate for their hearing loss even while fitted for hearing aids or using assistive listening devices. More often than not the exertion results in fatigue both mental and physical.
Focus on your clarity of speech as opposed to volume. This can be done in several ways. Instead of dragging out the word, which increases distortion, try increasing your enunciation and adding in more pauses between your words.
If you have tried repetition without success then try rephrasing instead. For example, if “Let’s go shopping at the supermarket” doesn’t work, try “Do you need groceries?”.
Answer their questions using full sentences. A simple one-word answer can be easily misheard.
Bring them an extra supply of batteries and check if their audio devices are being cleaned and stored properly. In this manner, they know that you care and are involved and supportive in their hearing health. Express gratitude to them for wearing hearing aids consistently since you are all in it together.
Many hearing health professionals are well versed in the strains that hearing loss can affect families. They are trained to help members cope by giving them the right strategies and guidance specific to their situation. It is also easier for those involved to have qualified professionals offering guidance.
There are many different types of technology that can be used to assist the hearing impaired. It is important for everyone to become familiar with them so that your loved ones know that their social and familial activities can go on with some modifications. One of the most detrimental effects of hearing loss if the withdrawal and isolation that can occur. This can happen to the sufferer as well as their family members.
In order to mitigate the effects of hearing loss, your audiologist can recommend the various types of hearing aids to assistive hearing devices that would be best suited to the needs of your loved one.
All Ear Doctors
All Ear Doctors is well-versed in the complex nature of hearing loss and its effects on family and friends. If your loved one is hesitant about getting an assessment you or someone close to them is welcome to come along. We encourage you to give us a call if you or someone close to you have any questions about hearing health. Your first appointment with us will be the start of a richer, healthier hearing experience.