One of the most noticeable effects of hearing loss is difficulty communicating. Since people depend on their hearing to communicate effectively with others, a loss of hearing can have quite the impact!
Communication can be made easier, however, if you follow these five tips.
1. Get Some Help
If you have hearing loss, the first thing you should do is check in with a doctoral-level audiologist. They’ll test your hearing and make recommendations about what you can do to ease the effects of hearing loss on your life. In many cases, they may recommend a hearing aid, but other assistive devices may be recommended to maximize your listening experience.
For many, a hearing aid is the single best thing you can have to ease the effects of hearing loss. The devices not only help you hear your very best, but many of them come equipped with programs designed to help process speech more effectively than ever before.
2. Visual Communication
Even after getting treatment from a doctoral-level audiologist, if you’re dealing with the effects of hearing loss, a great skill to have is the ability to communicate visually though techniques like speech reading. Since your sense of hearing is no longer as sharp as it once was, you’ll rely more heavily on your other senses—in this case, your vision.
You don’t need to be a perfect lip-reader, nor do you need to rely on this skill as your only means of “hearing” someone else. Instead, you can use this skill as a helping hand when you’re having trouble hearing in a crowded area, or if you need to discern an “em” sound from an “en” sound. The lips move differently around different sounds, which can give you a little boost in conversations. All in all, make sure you have your vision checked regularly and do what you can to protect your vision and if needed utilize appropriate vision assistance by working with your optometrist or opthamologist.
3. Good Communication Strategies
Hearing aids are unable to overcome poor communication skills and can only help so much in background noise. Working to speak clearly ensures that a hearing aid can capture and amplify all you say, while speaking face-to-face allows visual cues to fill in things and ensures you are focused on listening.
When in background noise, find a quiet corner, or choose a restaurant with less noise to contend with. This supports them remaining part of the conversation and creates a better environment for the hearing aids.
When it comes to an individual’s hearing loss, they may suffer from decreased clarity or distortion of the sounds they do hear. This makes speech understanding more difficult than it would be for an individual whose clarity is unaffected. These people may need spouses or family to repeat what was said more often. Consider rephrasing what you said instead of repeating it verbatim. This gives more context to what you are trying to convey. You can also speak at a slower rate, giving the brain time to process what is being said and fill in any information their ears were unable to understand.
4. Use Technology
There are many wonderful assistive technologies available today including remote microphones or FM systems. In some situations, it might even be easier to have someone write it out! Text messaging while you’re standing next to someone might seem a bit silly, but if it’s noisy, it can be a more effective way of communicating with each other. Other options such as speech-to-text conversion may also be appropriate in some situations.
This speech-to-text option may also be helpful if you’re dealing with the effects of hearing loss. Your conversation partner can speak into their phone. You’ll hear a bit of what they say and read their lips as they do so. The service translates what they’re saying to written form, which you can then read.
5. Sit Nearer to the Speaker
This may not be possible if you’re around a dinner table in a noisy restaurant and conversation is fast-paced, but you can always make an effort to sit (or stand) closer to the primary speaker. In meetings and conferences, for example, don’t hide in the back row. Get a clearer view by sitting closer to the front, where you can use visual cues to assist you in determining what the speaker says.
There are plenty of ways you can reduce the effects of hearing loss on how you communicate. Don’t let hearing loss hold you back! With the professional help of a doctoral-level audiologist you can be on the path to better hearing today. Don’t delay and book your appointment now.