There’s no question that hearing loss can take its toll on those experiencing it and their loved ones. Whether it's misunderstandings or missing information completely, miscommunication is often at the heart of hearing loss-related relationship problems.
If you have hearing loss, there are measures that you and your loved ones can take to help reduce the potential for miscommunication.
What Your Loved Ones Can Do
As the person with hearing loss, it’s important for you to become informed on what you’re experiencing and share it with your loved ones. By learning more, you can become an advocate for others who are also hearing impaired.
Consider sharing these 3 tips with your loved ones to help them better know how to communicate with you and others with your condition.
1) Remember your preferred forms of communication.
Improving communication is a two-way street. Your job is to know the best ways to communicate with you as a person who has hearing loss, while your loved one’s job is to remember your preferences.
First, you’ll need to explain the most effective ways to communicate with someone who has hearing loss. After that, however, it’s up to your loved ones to maintain those practices when they’re with you. Of course, don’t be afraid to remind them where they can improve, but appreciate their effort.
2) Use your name to get your attention.
Loved ones can easily forget that those with hearing loss don’t always know when they are being spoken to. If understanding speech is a challenge, identifying when something is being directed at you can be even more difficult.
One way your loved ones can help to ensure that you know when you are being spoken to is by saying your name. In turn, it’s also important for them to receive confirmation that you are listening. For example, you can use eye contact to signal that they have gotten your attention.
3) Act as your second set of ears.
Some situations just can’t be remedied to better accommodate those with hearing loss. Group activities, like family gatherings, can present major challenges to those with hearing loss. In those situations, don’t be hesitant to ask for help from a person with normal hearing.
Asking a friend or a family member to be a second set of ears can help to ensure that you won’t miss any important parts of the conversation. Even if hearing a conversation is too difficult, you can rest assured that someone will be able to fill you in on the things you missed later.
For more information on the topic of hearing loss and relationships, read our article How Can Hearing Loss Impact Your Relationships?
What You Can Do for Your Relationships
Communication doesn’t only require effort on the part of your loved one but from you as well. Your loved one’s efforts to better communicate with you will not be nearly as effective if you don’t take steps to hear your best as well.
Here are 4 tips for becoming a better listener:
1) Face the person you are talking to.
While hearing what a person is saying is a significant part of a conversation, so is witnessing their body language. Watching a person speak allows us to fully piece together the meaning behind their words. With hearing loss, being face-to-face with the person you are speaking to is invaluable.
By looking at a person directly, you can watch their mouth as they speak, their facial expressions, and how they use their hands. By doing so, you will not only be more likely to fill in some of the gaps you missed, but you will better understand the sentiment and tone of what’s being said.
2) Find the best location and position to be in.
Even for those who do not have hearing loss, being in a crowded room with a lot of background noise can certainly make carrying a conversation more difficult. Beyond this, if the person you’re speaking to is far away, the scenario becomes even more of a challenge.
Especially if you’re going on a social outing, try planning ahead and selecting a location suitable for your hearing loss. For example, a low-key restaurant is much more ideal than a busy, noisy restaurant. Finding a seat close to the person you plan on speaking to most is important as well.
3) Timing is everything, so use it wisely.
Did you know that our voices’ sound fluctuates throughout the day? For example, in the morning, it’s common for people to wake up with a raspy voice, since fluid and mucus collects in our throats overnight.
Unfortunately, morning "raspy voice” often makes it more difficult to hear a person. Take this into consideration when you make plans with others. If someone suggests meeting for a morning coffee, possibly suggest meeting later in the day to ensure that their voice is clear.
4) Maintain your hearing aids.
If you’re someone who benefits from wearing hearing aids, you’ll want to ensure that they continue to help you the best they can, for as long as they can. One great way to do this is by taking care of your hearing aids.
Hearing aid maintenance includes taking them out at night and performing a daily cleaning, routinely cleaning your tubes, and regularly replacing your batteries. Of course, after several years, you may also consider if it’s time to replace your hearing aids to achieve optimum hearing.
Looking for new hearing aids or accessories?
Advanced Affordable Hearing’s mission is to help you improve your hearing at a price you can afford. If you’ve had trouble hearing lately, visit our Online Hearing Check to get a general sense of your type of hearing loss.
If you have any other questions or concerns, call us at 1 (800) 804-0434.