May is one of our favorite months – it is officially Better Hearing and Speech Month! Established by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), this awareness month helps promote public health education and access. This year’s theme is “Connecting People.”
To start the month off right, here are some ways to improve communication with your family member who has hearing loss.
You’ve undoubtedly all experienced the frustration of attempting to communicate with someone in your family who is hard of hearing. Perhaps you feel ignored, your loved one is feeling isolated, and your family dynamic isn’t what it once was. Here are some recommendations for the complete family on how to help your loved one hear if you want to address your communication challenges.
Tips for Communication
Keep your cool.
It’s tempting to take things personally while speaking with hearing loss. When your loved one doesn’t hear you from across the room or answers poorly, they may be unfriendly. Please take a deep breath and try not to get angry; remember, it’s not their fault. Hearing loss makes it challenging to recognize speech.
Call from the same room
Shouting at your loved one from another room won’t help if they have trouble hearing. Get closer to your loved one to make conversation easier. Before you start talking, pull up a chair, sit down, and make sure you have their attention. Communication requires two individuals, so make sure you’re ready before you begin.
Stay near your loved ones and attempt to position yourself so they can see your face clearly if you’re in a noisy environment, such as a restaurant or a busy concert. Your loved one has a better chance of understanding what’s being said and participating in the conversation if they pay attention to body language or facial cues.
People with hearing loss have trouble focusing on vocal sounds against background noise. Getting rid of all background noises can make it easier for your loved one to hear and ensure that everyone can speak clearly. Take a moment to switch off the TV, turn down the radio, or close the window if you’re at home.
Don’t shout or speak too slowly.
We often make the mistake of assuming that louder is always better. That, however, is not the case. Shouting makes it tough to comprehend you since it distorts speech sounds and makes it challenging to figure out what you’re saying. If you want your loved one to understand you and follow your conversations, the most pleasing thing you can do is speak clearly.
Speaking excessively slowly, like yelling, might cause the sounds to alter and make it harder to comprehend. Talking more slowly isn’t always helpful, either. Instead, usually speak at an average volume and speed, with pauses at the end of sentences and a few lengthier intervals. This will give your loved one time to comprehend what has been said, stay up with you, and answer.
More words are better.
For someone hard of hearing, adding a few additional words can differentiate between comprehending and being perplexed. Say phrases like “Yes, I remember” or “No, I didn’t” instead of one-word answers like “yes” or “no.” It takes no more time to add a word or two, but it can save everyone a lot of confusion and make communication more accessible.
Rephrase instead of repeating
If your family member still doesn’t grasp what you’ve started, don’t just repeat it. They’re probably not going to comprehend the second time, and you’ll both be frustrated and upset. Find a way to reword and use new words instead.
Encourage your loved one to get treatment for their hearing loss.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, people wait seven years after noticing abnormalities in their hearing before seeking therapy. Is your loved one wearing a hearing aid? If not, now is the time to discuss the advantages of hearing aids and encourage them to have a hearing test. We offer the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers to ensure that you get your support.
Our familial relationships influence our mental, emotional, and physical health and welfare. It can feel like you’re losing touch with your loved ones if you can’t communicate with them. If you want to improve your family’s communication, contact us today to discuss your options, schedule a hearing test, and choose the right hearing aid.