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Supporting Your Loved Ones who Experience Hearing Loss

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Supporting those we love as they wrestle with hearing loss challenges is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Even if those close to you are addressing the issue of their hearing impairment with hearing devices and phone apps, you can help them further by staying aware and making small but important adjustments yourself. Here are some important tips to help you make things easier for them, yourself and keep communication as fluid as possible:

Consider the Environment

Hearing loss affects the ability to clearly hear and comprehend speech, especially in noisy environments. Consider a quiet space to speak to your loved one if the conversation is a serious discussion. Stay facing your loved one as much as possible. This will help them to read clues of your facial expressions and the continuity of your speech.

Stay in the same room and do not walk away or turn your back when you are speaking

Tips For Speaking

When speaking to your loved one with hearing loss, it is important to speak as you would usually, with some considerations: the pace of your speech, the use of concise language, taking a pause to see if they comprehend, and not elongating your words to the point of distortion.

In terms of volume and speed, shouting or yelling does not help with clarity. Additionally, try not to speak too quickly and if possible, minimize your use of complex compound sentences. Confirm with them all the necessary information if the discussion includes important dates, times and locations

Group Settings

If you are in a group situation make sure you call their name so that they are aware of the topic from the beginning. Sudden topic changes will require you to inform the hard of hearing (HOH) person. Otherwise they will lose track quickly and feel discouraged. Always try and repeat any crucial information before changing topics and continuing a group discussion. While it may not always be possible in large group settings, try and take and take turns when speaking and signaling a change to a different speaker.

If they do not understand what you are saying after multiple attempts then try paraphrasing and using different words.

Always answer a question they posit with a complete Yes or No and a full answer.

Be aware that words that contain “s, f and th” will be harder for them to distinguish and are easier to misunderstand. The following are some common word substitutes that are easier to hear for those that are hearing impaired:

  • That > This
  • Flavor > Taste
  • Home > House
  • One > First
  • Good > Nice
  • Drink > Thirsty
  • Before > Past
  • Her > She
  • Very > Such
  • Nearly > Almost

The “s, f and th” sounds carry the highest frequencies in human speech. They are the first to be negatively impacted by hearing decline.

Other Tips for Communicating with Your Loved Ones

Patience is the key at all times. If your loved one is new to the adjustments required of their hearing condition then it will take work by both parties for a successful communicative relationship to continue. Support and resources are available and we are here to help! We are here to take your call whenever you or your loved one is ready for the next empowering step in auditory wellness!