Hearing loss is a condition that everyone knows about, but there are many
Tips to Communicate with Hard-of-Hearing Individuals
Thanks to the steady progression of hearing aids, people suffering from hearing loss now find it easy to communicate with those around them. However, despite this progress, hearing aids alone cannot enable a hard-of-hearing person to communicate successfully in situations that involve listening. As talking involves two people (the speaker and the listener), it becomes important for you, the speaker, to communicate with the speaker in a comprehensive manner.
Listed below are some important recommendations that you can follow to communicate successfully with a friend or family member who is hard of hearing:
1. Gain attention
The first step to communicating with an individual suffering from hearing loss is to gain that person's attention. For example, before you begin talking, you can take the other person's name to have him/her attentive towards you. If the person you're speaking to hears less from one ear, then move towards the side where the person's hearing strength is normal. However, if merely taking the listener's name does not work, you can also tap on the shoulder and begin talking. These gestures are all simple yet very effective in successfully communicating with people who have diminished hearing strength.
2. Keep eye contact
Another important aspect of ensuring effective communication with a hard of hearing person is to face that person and make eye contact. An important part of any conversation is the speaker's body language and facial expressions. If you're facing the person you're talking to, you can help the person understand you more clearly (through lip reading) and let that person know what you're trying to express through words.
3. Remain visible
Since it is important to show your facial expressions to the listener, blocking your face by your hands should be avoided. For example, if you smoke, keep the cigarette away from your mouth while talking. Doing so will allow you to speak in a clear manner and also help the listener see and understand your facial expressions. Also, avoid changing the shape of your lips while talking. This is important as a lot of people tend to employ lip-reading techniques when they're suffering from any kind of hearing loss. Therefore, while speaking, avoid eating or chewing. In addition, avoid all sorts of acts that can alter the shape of your lips.
4. Speak in a natural manner
In a bid to try and speak clearly, many people tend to speak loudly which, unfortunately, actually distorts the words being spoken. Similarly, speaking in a very low volume or talking too fast or too slow should also be avoided. The key to communicating with people suffering from hearing loss is to speak naturally, or the way you do all the time. Moreover, you shouldn't shy away from repeating yourself every once in a while.