Tips for Communicating with Hearing Loss

Tips for Better Communication with People with Hearing Loss

In Family and Relationships, Hearing Loss by Michael L. Schneller, HIS

Michael L. Schneller, HIS

Michael’s father, Lee F. Schneller, started his first hearing clinic in Garden City, Kansas in 1971. The foundation of hearing aid knowledge Michael acquired while working in the state of Kansas helped pave the way so Michael could expand his studies in California, Minnesota, and Florida.
Michael L. Schneller, HIS

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Communicating with people with hearing loss has its challenges, but there are ways to improve communication. Hearing aids is a great way and perhaps you can help a loved one with hearing loss by offering to come with them for an evaluation at Focus Hearing. Four ears are better than two and your questions and a discussion afterwards could be just what they need to help them decide to get hearing aids. If you have hearing loss, there’s no better time than right now to take care of it.

Recent statistics show 20% of all treatable hearing loss conditions are ignored. This leads to a variety of physical as well as mental and emotional problems as hearing becomes more and more of a struggle.
While many hearing aids are programmed for help with sound processing in noisy environments, there are still some things that can be helpful to improve communication.

Ask for Accommodation

If people are aware you have hearing issues, they will understand you may have problems hearing with some phone connections or carrying on a conversation at a noisy place. Tell family and friends and others if you find yourself in a situation where you have trouble hearing. Be direct. Just say, “please speak up. I am having difficulty hearing you over all this crowd noise.” It certainly is better to do this than to have the other person think you are ignoring them because you didn’t hear them. It also removes the awkwardness if others are laughing at a joke or interacting about something you might not have heard.

Stay Close

Don’t stand too far away from people you are talking to that you are losing sound quality of their speech. And, seeing their facial expressions and watching their lips will help you with cues to follow the conversation. This further reinforces the suggestion to tell people about hearing difficulties. They won’t find it odd you are standing a little closer to them and watching their face and lips. You should disclose your hearing loss even if you have visible hearing aids since many people don’t notice them anymore or think they correct your hearing to 100%.

Favor Your Good Ear

If you have better hearing in one ear, ask the individual to stand closest to that ear. Don’t be self-conscious about wanting to understand the conversation and participate.

Don’t Get Anxious

People with new hearing aids have some anxiety when first being exposed to a social setting. They may worry about what people will think of their new hearing aid or worry if they will be able to understand conversations.

Just focus on the person who is talking. You can practice picking out voices by keeping the television on, listening to talk radio and letting a video run on your phone with sound all at the same time. Try picking out individual people talking. Invite friends over to practice!

You will be surprised how much visual cues when talking to someone will help. Good lighting is helpful when talking to someone so don’t be afraid to say “let’s talk over here,” if the lighting is better in one area of gathering. Face the person directly because they will likely face you directly then.

If you still have conversational issues after a time with your hearing aids, give us a call at Focus Hearing and we can see if there are adjustments that are needed.

Take Advantage of Resources

Hearing loss and wearing hearing aids shouldn’t be taken as something that should slow you down. Wearing glasses or contacts isn’t taken that way. Familiarize yourself with your hearing devices and all they can do. Many hearing aid manufacturers have apps you can put on your phone to help, they have 24-7 staffed helplines and there are numerous helpful on-line videos. Some of the manufacturers have remote adjustment capabilities so if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t readily get to us at Focus Hearing, the manufacturer might be able to help.

Focus Hearing

Have you been struggling with hearing loss? Focus Hearing offers you a chance to try out your hearing aids to make sure they fit your lifestyle and needs. Contact us to learn more about hearing solutions that could help improve communication in your life.