Hearing loss isn’t only stressful for the person experiencing it; his or her family must also deal with communication problems. Hearing devices can help, but there are additional steps family members can take to improve the communication experience. The following tips will help the patient hear more effectively.
- Find a quiet, distraction-free place to have your conversation. Background noise can be disruptive.
- Address your listener by name before starting a conversation. You want to make sure you have their complete attention.
- Maintain eye contact when speaking. Face the listener directly—visual cues are an important ingredient in successful communication.
- Speak slowly and concisely. Resist the urge to raise your voice or shout; this leads to distorted speech and makes it difficult for the hearing impaired individual to understand what is being said.
- Pause between sentences to make sure you are being understood. If your listener is confused, try rephrasing your sentence or using simpler words and phrases. Repeat yourself if necessary.
- Make sure your listener can see your lips when you are speaking. Do not cover your face with your hands or other objects, and avoid eating or drinking during your conversation.
- When conveying information that is important, write it down. It may also help to write down the topic beforehand so your listener has no question about what you will be talking about.
- Pay attention to the listener. If he or she looks confused, try clarifying what you have just said.
- Conversations take two people. Make sure you give your listener a chance to respond without interruption.