If you have hearing loss, you know that communicating with your family can be a struggle. You’re doing your best to understand them, but sometimes it seems like you just can’t follow what’s being said, no matter how many times you ask them to repeat themselves. At the end of a family dinner everyone is frustrated, and rather than a bonding experience, family night can damage relationships. If you’re ready to improve communication with your family, here are a few tips for you and your family to make conversations easier.
Take a Breath
You know the frustration of feeling like you’re being left out of conversations or being ignored. You start to feel isolated and alone since you don’t catch all the snatches of conversation thrown around the kitchen during a hectic morning getting everyone out the door on time. It’s important to remember that no one is leaving you out on purpose. Your family loves you, and they aren’t trying to be rude. In fact, they probably don’t realize how frustrated you are and are busy thinking about what they can put in their sandwich for lunch. Take a deep breath, and don’t get angry.
Gently remind your family that speaking louder doesn’t necessarily make it easier for you to hear. In fact, shouting can distort sounds and make it even harder to understand. Speaking really slow doesn’t help either. Rather, ask them to speak clearly and to leave pauses between phrased to give you time to process what’s been said, and keep up with the flow of the conversation.
Use More Words
Ask your family to avoid one-word answers. If you ask a question and they only say “yes” or “no” it might be hard for you to catch what’s been said. Even adding a couple extra words, such as “yes, I did” can make it much easier for you to understand them the first time.
Use Different Words
If you ask someone to repeat themselves, it means some of the sounds they’ve said are hard for you to hear and understand. Ask your family to help you hear by rephrasing rather than repeating when you ask for clarification. That way you’ll have an easier time understanding them, rather than missing out on the same sounds again, and being too embarrassed to ask them to repeat it a third time.
Always Face the Person Speaking
If you have hearing loss, you know it can be impossible to understand someone if they have their back to you, or if they start talking without getting your attention first. Ask your family to face you when talking to you, and make sure you’re paying attention before they start. If they yell at you from the living room, there’s no way you’ll understand what’s been said. For clear communication, ask them to come over to you, get your attention, and speak directly to you.
Reduce Background Noise
If you’re in a noisy place, like a crowded restaurant, it can be extremely difficult to follow conversations. Pick a quiet corner, or a restaurant that doesn’t play loud music, so you’ll have a much easier time understanding what’s being said. At home, always turn down the volume on the TV or radio before you start talking, so you can focus on the conversation, and remove distracting background sounds that will make it harder to pick up on the sound you want to hear.
Get Fitted for a Hearing Aid
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your family is incredibly important when it comes to your physical, emotional, and mental health. They’re your main source of support, and you’ve spent a lifetime building strong connections with them. Don’t let your hearing loss come between you and your family.
If you want to improve communication with your family, the best thing you can do is visit us at My Hearing Centers for a hearing assessment. We’ll test your hearing, and help you make informed decisions about your hearing health. Hearing aids of today come with advanced programs and settings designed to help you communicate easily. From speech enhancement and directionality to noise reduction and connectivity, a hearing aid can do it all. Whatever your lifestyle or level of hearing loss, together we can explore your hearing device options, and decide which hearing aid will fit your unique hearing needs.