When you struggle with hearing loss, carrying on a normal conversation can be a challenging, often frustrating experience. While getting a hearing aid can be helpful and may be recommended by your audiologist, there are several communication techniques you can use that can facilitate a more effective conversation.
Since communication is a two-way process, we have included tips for both the hearing person communicating with someone who has hearing loss and the hard-of-hearing person communicating with a hearing person:
For a Hearing Person Communicating with Someone with Hearing Loss
- Set the right environment. Make sure you have your conversation partner’s attention. Face the person directly when talking to them. Avoid noisy or otherwise distracting environments. Ask your conversation partner what they need from you.
- Communicate your message clearly. Don’t shout or mumble. Instead, speak at a moderate pace, and try not to overemphasize words (as tempting as it might be). Avoid hiding your mouth, eating, chewing gum, or smoking while talking. Try to use gestures, facial expressions, or visual stimuli when needed to get your message across. If your conversation partner doesn’t understand, try rephrasing. Give a heads up when you’re about to change the subject.
- Be empathetic. Remember that as frustrated as you might be feeling, so too is your conversation partner. Be patient with them and know that they are trying their best. Remember to be respectful and maintain a positive attitude.
For a Hard-of-Hearing Person Communicating with a Hearing Person
- Set the right environment. Communicate to your conversation partner what you need. Pick an environment that works well for you. Try to anticipate any issues you might encounter and come up with a plan to minimize them. Make sure that you will be able to concentrate. If you’re too tired to concentrate, ask your partner if you can have the conversation at another time.
- Be an active listener. Pay attention to your conversation partner. Make contact with them. Look out for any gestures or visual cues. Be honest. If you don’t understand what your conversation partner is saying, let them know. Try not to interrupt and instead let the conversation flow and see if you can’t fill in the blanks. Repeat back what you heard to make sure that you’re understanding correctly.
- Be empathetic. Understand that you’re conversation partner is trying their best to communicate effectively and thank them for doing their part to ensure that the conversation goes smoothly. Be respectful and maintain a positive attitude.
If you’re looking for an ear doctor or hearing center in Oklahoma, visit OHC. We are your Oklahoma hearing experts.
Living with Hearing Loss. Hearing Loss Association of America.