People who’ve been able to hear well all their lives and going to struggle once their hearing starts to deteriorate or following an accident or illness, they instantly find they have limited hearing.
Hearing loss can be very challenging, not only for the individual with impaired hearing but also their loved ones, community, and colleagues.
With communication being at the heart of relationships, effective ways to communicate becomes crucial for people suffering from impaired hearing. To shed light on this important topic, expert Clinical Audiometrist Julie Murphy from Advanced Hearing Aid Centre shares some effective communication techniques to use when talking to anyone with hearing loss.
Initiate Attention: Imagine trying to have a conversation without someone realising you’re speaking to them. To avoid this, always ensure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking. A simple gesture like addressing them by name can make a world of difference.
Refined Repetition: Misunderstandings are common when dealing with hearing loss, but there is a subtle art to addressing them. Instead of raising your voice, approach the individual closely and rephrase your message. For instance, turn a complex sentence into a simpler one to convey your message effectively.
Conversation Context: Providing a heads-up about the conversation topic beforehand can significantly enhance understanding. If the dialogue is going to change subject, gently prepare them for the transition. This foresight allows the individual to follow the discussion more easily.
Optimised Sound Clues for Speech: Adjusting your speech patterns can greatly aid comprehension. Begin and end sentences with a clear voice – and avoid shouting as it can distort facial features and cause discomfort. Instead, incorporate well-timed pauses around significant parts of speech, significant syllables, words, and phrases. And subtly emphasise words that are key to the conversation to help them grasp the message more fully.
Non-Verbal Enhancement: Communication isn’t solely verbal, as body language and expressions also play a vital role. Incorporating facial expressions and gestures can add depth to your communication, making it easier for the individual to grasp the nuances of the chat.
Engage Eye Contact and Speech: Direct eye contact establishes a personal connection and helps the person read your lips and facial cues. Speak clearly but avoid over-enunciation, as it can distort lip movements. Position yourself at eye level to ensure optimal visual communication.
Oral Clarity: To facilitate clear speech, ensure you’re not obstructing your mouth with objects like gum, cigarettes, or food. This small adjustment can make a significant difference to how well your words are understood.
Mitigating Noise Disturbance: Background noise can be a major hindrance for anyone with hearing loss. When possible, choose quieter environments for conversations or introduce soft furnishings that can absorb excess noise. Position yourself with your back to the noise source as this can be most helpful to the person you’re focussed on.
Effective communication is a two-way street, and when someone in your life is dealing with hearing loss, it’s important to adapt and refine your communication techniques.
As further assistance for your loved ones suffering from hearing loss, Advanced Hearing Aid Centre invites close family members to actively participate in hearing appointments at one of our hearing centres on the Gold Coast, in Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga.
This proactive involvement can be especially valuable for elderly clients who may face challenges, such as arthritis or poor eyesight, affecting their ability to manage hearing devices effectively.
A helping hand from a family member can make a world of difference to ensure that devices are optimised for the individual’s needs.
The Advanced Hearing Aid Centre not only provides valuable strategies such as initiating attention, refining repetition, and optimising sound clues for speech, but we encourage family members to actively participate in your loved ones’ journey towards better hearing.
Together, we can create an atmosphere of understanding, support, and improved communication for those with hearing loss.