5 Tips For Talking To A Loved One With Hearing Loss
Communication is a two-way process. When one of the individual has hearing loss, communication can prove difficult. Even when the person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening strategies, it becomes crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies. So here’re 5 tips to help improve communication with a loved one who is hard of hearing:
Speak one at a time
If you are in a group of people and talking to people with hearing loss, make sure only one person speaks at a time. Include everyone in the conversation, but don’t talk over one another. This can make hearing difficult, even for people who don’t have hearing loss!
Maintain Eye Contact
While speaking to someone with hearing loss, be sure to face them and maintain eye contact. Facial expressions and body language serve as vital communication cues to the listener when participating in conversations.
Gain the listener's attention before you begin talking, for example, by saying his or her name. If the person with hearing loss hears better from one ear, move to that side of the person. If necessary, touch the listener's hand, arm, or shoulder lightly. This simple gesture will prepare the listener to listen and allow him/her to hear clearly.
Choose an area with good lighting
Some environments are much easier for communication for people with hearing loss. When in a restaurant or other social gathering, sit where there is good lighting so that your face can be more easily seen. Also, avoid strong lighting coming from behind you, such as through a window.
Ask what works best for them
Ask the person who is hard of hearing how you can facilitate a better conversation with them. People who are hard of hearing know how they can best listen, so ask them what works. Whether it is moving to the side of their better ear or asking for written cues, ask the listener what works best for them and their hearing. They will appreciate it.