When you are coping with hearing loss, it can be frustrating when your loved ones, colleagues and friends do not know how to effectively communicate with you. But you can help restore these connections. By sharing a few tips with those around you, you can empower them to best support you, and build a hearing-friendly social environment for yourself.
Follow these tips to build more productive and meaningful connections after hearing loss.
Tell people about your hearing loss
You should not feel embarrassed by your hearing loss. Hearing loss in and of itself is simply a medical condition. Unfortunately, this medical condition can have a serious impact on your ability to communicate with others. By letting your friends, loved ones and colleagues know about this condition, you can minimize the negative impact, and empower those around you to communicate with you in the most effective way possible.
Offer tips to help others communicate with you
You know your hearing loss better than anyone else does. Do you hear better out of one ear than the other? Do you read lips? Do any conversational cues help you get the most out of a conversation? Simply sharing this type of information with colleagues, loved ones and friends can help them more effectively communicate with you and help you stay engaged in life. Here are a few more tips that may help you and those around you maximize effective communication: 1
- Ask people to face you when they speak, and avoid excessive hand movements, especially ones that hide their mouths.
- Request that others speak with clear pronunciation and a moderate volume. Shouting tends to distort voices and actually makes it more difficult to understand.
- Let friends, colleagues and loved ones know if any conversational cues help you hear better in conversations. Is it helpful when people speak your name before addressing you? Do you need people to speak one at a time? Let people know your preferences.
Control your environment
As you likely already know, hearing in noisy environments can be difficult for people with hearing loss. By taking control over the environments in which you are communicating, you can pave the way for more productive, impactful conversations.
- If you are having trouble hearing a conversation in a noisy environment, ask the person you are speaking with to step into a more quiet setting, like a hallway or quieter room.
- Ask others not to yell at you from other rooms, but rather, to walk to where you are when addressing you.
- If you can hear better out of one ear than another, do not be afraid to request seating that maximizes your opportunity to hear.
Seek professional assistance
If your hearing loss has begun to impact your ability to connect with family and friends, your desire to participate in social activities or your confidence at work, it may be time to seek help. Proactively treating hearing loss is the most important step in overcoming any communication obstacles. Hearing solutions such as the Esteem Hearing Implant can help you reengage in your life and restore lost connections.
When is it time to share your hearing loss with loved ones?
- Are you frustrated with your communication, or lack thereof, with loved ones?
- Do others get frustrated with you when you can’t hear what they’re saying?
- Does your hearing loss ever cause miscommunication between you and those around you?
- Would you like to feel more connected with others?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then it could be time to look into a hearing solution that could improve your interpersonal communications.
1 UCSF Medical Center-Communicating with People with Hearing Loss–Patient Education-Retrieved from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/communicating_with_people