How Can I Improve Communication with People with hearing loss?
Hearing loss can affect anyone, despite their age. Nevertheless, it can be caused by different factors, such as noise and genetic factors. This article will provide tips on how to better communicate with people who have hearing loss. Also, we will look at the three primary classifications of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
This type of hearing loss happens in the middle of the outer ear. This loss includes sound waves being unable to carry all the way through the inner ear. Usually, sound may be blocked by a foreign object or wax located in the ear canal. Also, conductive hearing loss may result from the eardrum having injuries, a bone infection or abnormality, or the middle ear space being impacted with fluid. The good news is that surgical or medical intervention can reverse conductive hearing loss. Note that this hearing loss might be more common in kids who have inserted foreign objects into their ear canal or those who suffer recurrent ear infections.
Sensorineural hearing loss
Primarily, this type of hearing loss happens when the actual hearing nerve or the inner ear becomes damaged. One of the most common things that can cause this loss is the death of hair cells in the cochlea. Sensorineural hearing loss ranks as the most rampant type of hearing loss. This condition can result from specific drugs, exposure to loud noise, ageing, injury, or an inherited disease or injury. Unfortunately, this hearing loss cannot be treated surgically or medically. But most people with this hearing loss report that hearing aids prove beneficial to them.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
As the name suggests, sudden sensorineural hearing loss may happen over a few days or suddenly. It is vital to see a doctor who specialises in ear diseases and treatment immediately. This is because a delay in treating these symptoms after they begin will likely decrease the chances of medicine being able to improve the issue.
Mixed hearing loss
On some occasions, people can have a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. Usually, one will have sensorineural hearing loss and develop a conductive component in addition.
It is essential to take a hearing test to determine your exact hearing loss. This way, your otologist will know and administer the best care solutions for your ears on time. Besides, hearing aids are available in numerous technologies, styles, and sizes, and there are also various alternatives to hearing aids. Therefore, there is a high chance that you will get assistance if you seek medical help early enough.
Tactics to improve communication with persons having hearing loss
Primarily, hearing aids are beneficial in numerous situations. Nevertheless, there are some listening occasions where hearing aids alone cannot facilitate enough hearing benefits. Therefore, in such cases, communication partners can assist the person with hearing loss to hear and understand information better. Remember, communication basically involves two persons: a listener who receives the message and a talker who sends the message. Thus, as a vital member of this communication pair, you can follow the following simple tactics for improved communication.
Maintain eye contact
This involves facing the person with hearing loss and making eye contact with them. Did you know that your body language and facial expressions add crucial information to the message being conveyed? For example, you can read a person’s face to determine whether they are frustrated, confused, joyful, or excited.
For instance, you should always gain the attention of someone with a hearing loss by calling their name. Also, if you notice that an individual suffering from hearing loss hears better from one ear, it is best to move to that side and talk from there. You could also lightly touch a person on the shoulder, hand, or arm to get their attention. While they may seem simple, these gestures will prepare an individual affected by hearing loss to listen and not miss that initial part of the conversation.
Keep your hands away from your face
Trying to keep your hands away from your mouth when talking is essential. This allows you to produce clear speech, and the listener can make use of the visual cues when your mouth and face are kept visible during the entire conversation.
Further, most listeners can improve their message perception by watching the speaker’s face, which is referred to as speechreading. Primarily, speechreading helps improve speech perception, as most sounds that are hard to hear can be seen. However, it is crucial that you do not over-exaggerate your talking while chewing gum or talking with food in your mouth to an individual with hearing loss. Remember that moustaches and heavy beards can also hide your mouth.
Rephrase rather than repeat
If the person you are communicating with has difficulty understanding what you said, you can repeat it once. However, if they still do not understand the message you are trying to communicate, it is best to find a different way of saying it. Use different words that have the same meaning. Also, you can consider other options, like asking the person what they did not understand and rephrasing or repeating that word.
It is advisable to speak clearly but without exaggeration. Also, remember that you do not have to shout, as this could actually distort the words. Try not to mumble during your speech, as this could make it difficult for even ordinary people to understand your message. Consider speaking at an average rate—one that is neither too fast nor too slow. Utilize pauses instead of slow speech to provide the listener with ample time to process speech. Remember to give clues when diverting to new topics or subjects.
Great lighting is important
A person with hearing loss can usually have their speech read to them to help them hear. So, lighting your face is important if you want them to be able to read your body language and facial expressions. When you are at a social gathering or a restaurant, consider sitting in a place with enough lighting to allow them to see your face more easily. Usually, poor lighting may cause shadows on the messenger’s face, making it difficult to see them. Consequently, avoid sitting where intense lighting comes from behind, like through a window. This is because it will cause difficulty looking into the bright light, causing distractions. Thus, the listener cannot concentrate on reading the massager’s faces.
Avoid talking with noisy backgrounds
It is vital to try to reduce background noise when having a conversation with someone who has poor hearing. This may include turning off the television or radio in the room. Also, you might have to move to a quiet space away from the noise source. When making dinner reservations or going to a restaurant, it is best to request seats away from noisy places such as the server stations, large parties, or the kitchen.
In conclusion, knowing how to talk to someone with hearing loss is crucial. This is because you will avoid all the distractions that could cause more difficulty in hearing. Utilizing these communication tactics will help smooth your conversations with people with hearing loss. Also, it could make them feel more appreciated and make listening much more manageable. Do not discriminate against anyone with hearing loss. Instead, embrace them and make their journey much more straightforward.