So you just got your first pair of hearing aids… everything will be perfect now, right? Or perhaps, you have a very mild hearing loss and hearing aids weren’t recommended quite yet. You should be able to communicate effectively, right? Chances are there will still be difficulties without the addition of communication strategies.
Communication strategies are vital tools to successful communication whether you have hearing aids or not. Remember that conversation is a two way street. Here are some tips for both sides of the conversation.
Communication strategies for someone with hearing loss:
- Be your own advocate. Tell people you have hearing loss so that they are aware and can make appropriate changes. This will also help you to plan ahead of time. If you are going to be in a noisy environment, arrive early and make appropriate accommodations, or try to choose a time in which the environment may be better. (Go to a restaurant earlier/later than peak hours).
- Face the speaker.
- Practice concentrating on the speaker’s mouth and topic of conversation. (This can be difficult in the beginning, especially if you have previously “tuned out” in conversations.)
- Instead of saying “huh?” or “what?” repeat what you think you heard, or the portion of the sentence that you did hear. For example, “Did you say that your son will be attending college in the fall?” Verify what you heard so that you are not answering inappropriately and causing embarrassment.
- Pay attention to body language.
- Be patient!
Communication strategies for the partner:
- Face the person you are talking to. Make sure you are not covering your mouth when speaking.
- Make sure you have the listener’s attention before speaking.
- If someone indicates difficulty hearing you, speak clearly and adjust your rate to be slower and volume to be a little louder. Do not shout or use exaggerated speech.
- Try rewording what you had said.
- Pause between thoughts so that the listener has a little more time to process.
- Ask if the listener has understood what you are saying.
- Use gestures.
If you have or anyone you know has hearing loss, or if you think it’s time to get hearing aids, go ahead and contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you the best way we can!