There are 48 million people in the U.S. with hearing loss; chances are you know at least someone in the Houston area who suffers from it.
While we all want to be inclusive, there is no point in pretending that having a conversation with someone who has hearing loss is not at least a little frustrating. If it is frustrating to you, just imagine how exasperating it is for the person with hearing loss. Because of this, many people with hearing loss stop doing the things they used to love and become isolated.
So what can you do about this?
Learn How You Can Better Communicate.
Below are some tips from a Houston audiologist on how to have a better and more productive conversation with an individual with hearing loss.
- Maintain eye contact with the hearing impaired individual, facing them directly. Do not attempt to hold a conversation from another room; visual cues are an important component of successful communication.
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before beginning a conversation. It helps to state their name so they are aware you are addressing them and can focus on your words.
- Speak slowly and concisely. Resist the temptation to shout, which can lead to distorted speech and make your words more difficult to understand. Pause between sentences to ensure what you are saying is understood.
- Do not cover your face with your hands or other objects. Individuals with hearing loss rely on visual cues to help follow the conversation, and sometimes find lip reading helpful.
- Avoid eating and drinking while conversing. Not only is it rude to talk with your mouth full, it can make your words much harder to understand.
- Try to find a quiet area free of background noise. This can be distracting and cause the hearing impaired individual to miss out on much of what you are saying.
- Repeat yourself if necessary. Try using a different word or rephrasing your sentence if it is too confusing. Refrain from complex words and phrases.
- Supplement your conversation by writing down important information. This might include jotting down the topic you will be discussing beforehand.
- Pay attention to the listener. If they look confused, offer to clarify what you have just said.
- Remember, communication is a two-way street. Give the other person a chance to speak, and do not interrupt.
Not too hard, right?
All you have to do it put in a little additional effort to have a huge impact on someone’s life.
Want to make sure you keep your hearing for as long as possible?
Contact your Houston audiologist to schedule an exam today. They will be able to confirm if you have any hearing loss and provide you with tips to protect your hearing going forward.