Know someone with hearing loss?
I often talk with my patients about how “communication is a two-way street” and how important it is to keep their friends and family in the loop in terms of what they can do to help make communication successful. When a person has hearing loss, it can be frustrating, exhausting, or downright embarrassing at times. If you know someone with hearing loss, you may not realize just how often they either a)pretend like they heard something but they actually have no clue, b)avoid certain situations because they know they won’t be able to hear or follow the conversation, and/or c)get frustrated about their inability to hear what’s being said.
It is important to encourage a person with hearing loss to get their hearing evaluated, and — if needed — get hearing aids to help reduce the negative impacts of the hearing impairment. However, as we all know, you can’t force a person to address their hearing loss…so there are many individuals out there who have never seen an audiologist and have certainly never worn hearing aids. In addition, there are many times when a person does have hearing aids, and they are doing everything they can to try to hear their best…but they still have difficulty hearing in certain situations.
There is hope!
Whether the hearing impaired individual wears hearing aids or not, there are strategies that we — their friends and family — can use to help make communication more successful. Here are eight tips that can contribute to that success, and reduce frustration for everyone!
(originally written by Shari Eberts; adapted, with permission, from the Hearing Health Blog at http://hearinghealthfoundation.org)
1. Provide Context Before and When Speaking: Context makes it easier to fill in the blank spaces of the words (much like on the Wheel of Fortune game board). If all you hear is “__oot,” knowing if the conversation is about owls (hoot) or a robbery (loot) or musical instruments (flute) is a big help!