3 Ways to Support a Loved One with Hearing Loss
If someone you love suffers from hearing loss, you know how difficult it can be on all parties involved. Here are three things you should remember when communicating with someone suffering from hearing loss:
If someone you love suffers from hearing loss, you know how difficult it can be on all parties involved. Whether the hearing loss is mild or severe, it can deeply affect the person, family members, and friends. One of the best things you can do to help someone with hearing loss is to educate yourself. Here are three things you should remember when communicating with someone suffering from hearing loss:
1. Always Speak Clearly
Make a conscious effort to speak louder and more clearly. Mumbling or whispering only frustrates the person and can make him or her self-conscious about the condition. Before speaking, say the person’s name and allow them to acknowledge you; this also lets the person know you are speaking to him or her. If the person hears better out of one ear, position yourself accordingly before speaking.
Never attempt to speak to someone who suffers with hearing loss from another room. Visual contact is important for effective communication. Moreover, if the person relies on lip reading, make sure he or she can see your face. Do not eat, put your hand over your mouth, or turn your head while speaking.
At times when the hearing-impaired person is in public or speaking with someone who isn’t familiar with the hearing problem, offer to be translator and repeat the conversation to the person in a volume he or she can hear and understand. It’s best to avoid locations where background noise might further interfere with the person’s ability to hear.
2. Be Patient
Speaking slowly, clearly, and repeating yourself can be frustrating at times, especially if you aren’t used to being around someone who suffers from hearing loss. The situation can be frustrating for both parties, and expressing this frustration will make the person feel worse about the situation. It is important to remain calm and understanding. Always remember to take turns when speaking.
If you are providing information, such as phone numbers or addresses, to someone with a hearing loss, have that person repeat the information back to you. This helps ensure comprehension. Do not speak rapidly and try to avoid using complex sentences.
3. Help Them Seek Treatment
It’s common for those in the early stages of hearing loss to deny there is a problem. You can help by showing compassion and explaining that hearing loss is a very natural part of life and is nothing to be ashamed of. Show plenty of compassion and educate your loved one – explain that new hearing aid technology and treatment can help with hearing impairment or loss. Hearing aid technologies are advancing every day and enhance sounds using streamlined, almost invisible devices that are placed inside or outside the ear.
Offer to schedule and attend a hearing consultation with the person. This may help alleviate any anxiety or apprehensions the person may have. Your loved one has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by seeking professional help with for a hearing problem.
For more resources, contact a hearing professional at Bay Area Audiology & Hearing Aids.