1. Do NOT talk from another room.
Not being able to see the speaker drastically cuts down on the hearing impaired person’s ability to “understand” what is being said. Additionally, as volume decreases with distance, by the time the sound reaches the hearing impaired individual, it is likely that the sound is too soft for them to hear and/or understand.
2. Get their attention.
By getting the hearing impaired individual’s attention, whether by saying their name or gently touching their arm or shoulder, will alert the individual and will allow them to focus attention and reduce the chance that they will miss the first part of the conversation.
3. Keep your hands away from your face.
Keeping your hands away from your face or lips will give the hearing impaired person more “cues” and cut down on misunderstandings as many rely these on facial cues or lip reading to “supplement” their hearing.
4. Speak Naturally.
Do not exaggerate your facial expressions or lip movements. Do not speak too slowly, too quickly and do not shout. Instead of slowing down your speech, use pauses to help the hearing impaired individual to process what is being said.
5. Rephrase rather than repeating.
If the listener has difficulty understanding something you said, find a different way of saying it. If he or she did not understand the words the first time, it’s likely he or she will not understand them a second time. So, try to rephrase it.
6. Stay positive and have a sense of humor.
Understand that the listener still does not have “perfect” hearing even with hearing aids. Certain situations will be harder for them to hear and understand. Mistakes will be made. Do not put down or criticize the individual. If there was a mis-understanding, ask them what they heard and then fill in the gaps. Otherwise, you could be in for some interesting conversations.
7. Be an advocate.
This is for the speaker and the listener. The listener needs to let the other person know that they cannot hear well and ask them to move closer or look at them directly. The speaker or significant other needs to help with communication and understanding.
If It is that important you talk to me, you need to walk to me. You need to “walk to talk”. I always remind patients that this goes both ways, as communication is a two-way street.
For more information or to get your hearing tested, contact our new Dunnellon office at 1-800-277-1182