Dealing with the daily struggles of hearing loss can be frustrating and isolating, particularly if the person has not pursued wearing hearing aids. Although today’s hearing aid technology has vastly improved from the past, hearing aids are not perfect. Hearing aids are just that: an aid to hearing. There will likely still be some situations where an individual may struggle to hear, even if they are wearing hearing aids. As a spouse, family member, friend, or colleague there are tips you may consider in order to enable a hearing aid wearer or individual with hearing loss to communicate and listen more easily.
Communication strategies for ensuring better hearing include the following simple rules:
- Speak clearly and naturally. It is not necessary, nor beneficial to shout, since this can distort the voice.
- Move closer. Reducing the distance between speaker and listener can improve speech understanding.
- Face the listener. Position yourself so the listener can see your face and lips. Lip-reading will help supplement the sound of speech.
- Attract the listener’s attention. Use the person’s name, enter their field of vision, or tap them lightly on the shoulder.
- Take the surroundings into account. Avoid conversations between rooms, or when there is a lot of background noise (e.g., vacuum cleaner, washing machine, loud television).
- Be aware of performance constraints. Do not put the hard-of-hearing listener under too much pressure; both the individual and the performance of hearing aids have their limits.
- For individuals with hearing aids, understand that using hearing instruments can be tiring. Be sensitive of signs of fatigue; listening is actually very taxing, particularly for new hearing aid users.
- Be patient. Respect the speed of progress, and encourage the person with hearing loss. Be a good listener, and help the person achieve the goal in participating in conversations.
If you have further questions call the HearSay Speech & Hearing Centre to speak with one of our audiologists
6941 Derry Road West, Milton, ON L9T 7H5