If you know someone with hearing loss, you too know how frustrating it can be to communicate with someone who has hearing loss. But, try to avoid all the embarrassment and frustration on both sides by using good communication skills and strategies.
- Gain attention. Approach from the front and face the person as you move closer. Don’t engage in conversation from another room—it sets up your communication process for failure.
- Evaluate the environment. The noise level should be low and the area well lit and free of glare so you can see each other. Make sure there are no distractions.
- Simplify your message. Stay on topic. Use familiar words and uncomplicated sentence structure.
- Control your speech and motions. Slow down your rate of speech, articulate and slightly increase your volume.
How to Deal with Resistance
Communicating with a loved one who has hearing loss (but is resistant to getting help) may be an opportunity for him/her to realize the significance of his/her hearing loss and that he/she needs help. Use these suggestions to gently encourage them to find a hearing healthcare professional and get help.
Stop repeating yourself – Explain that you are on a “Hearing Help Quest”— one that involves your loved one by allowing him or her the opportunity to realize the significance of their hearing loss. Do not stop helping though. All you do is preface what you repeat by saying each time, “Hearing Help!” or some other identifier. In a short amount of time, your loved ones will realize how often you say this. In turn, they will come to realize how often they depend on you. (This suggestion is only for a loved one who resists the idea of getting any help).
Stop raising your voice – (then complaining you’re hoarse). That results in stressing your throat and vocal chords.
Stop being the messenger by carrying the communication load for the family – Do not tell your loved one “He said” and “She said” when he or she needs to be responsible for getting this information directly from the source.
Do not engage in conversation from another room – as tempting as this is and as convenient as it appears. This sets up your communication process for failure.
Create a telephone need – This means for you to stop being the interpreter on the telephone. Allow your loved one to struggle in order to recognize how much help he or she needs.
When you and/or a loved one are ready to do something about your hearing loss, contact Hearing Professionals, your local hearing healthcare professional.