One in five Americans is living with hearing loss, so there’s a good chance you know someone who struggles to hear. A close friend or family member is probably hard of hearing, but no reason should affect your relationship. If your loved one has hearing loss, you know it can be challenging to communicate. You want your relationship to be as strong as it once was. Still, when you feel like you repeat everything multiple times, even a simple conversation can turn into a frustrating experience for everyone.
Here are some tips to help you communicate and build strong relationships with the hard-of-hearing people in your life.
All conversations should happen face-on
If you want your loved one to understand you, you first need to make sure you’re facing them. They won’t be able to hear you clearly from across the house or even across the room and may not even realize you’ve started speaking to them. Don’t yell from another room or speak with your back to them while you’re getting a drink or washing up after dinner.
Take the time to face your loved one, get their attention, and give them your focus. Your loved one is straining to understand and is giving 100% of their energy to be able to talk to you, so you need to put in the effort too. Taking the time to face your loved one while talking will be rewarding as you enjoy smooth communication.
Get on the same level.
Another tip to make communication a breeze is to be at the same eye level. If your loved one is sitting down, then pull up a chair. Being at eye level with the person you’re talking to is incredibly important as this increases their ability to focus on your face, hear clearly, and understand you easily.
When you’re at eye level, your loved one can use all their tools to understand, from watching your lips to reading nonverbal cues.
It’s tempting to shout if someone is having trouble hearing you. You might not know that shouting is actually the worst thing you can do to communicate! Raising your voice will only communicate your frustration, not what you’re trying to say.
The trick is to speak clearly and a little slower, but not more loudly. Speak at an average volume, and don’t over-enunciate. Your loved one isn’t stupid, and shouting at them sends the wrong message. Speaking clearly will help them read your lips and get your point across without raising your voice or sounding angry.
Encourage your loved one to treat their hearing loss.
Reaching out in this way might seem complicated, but if you do it right, you could help change their life in a way that will last for the rest of their lives.
Hearing loss can be a touchy subject for many people, especially when it isn’t taken care of. Facing a hearing problem can be scary and very personal, so you’ll want to talk to your loved one privately and with a plan, not on the spot or in public.
Most people wait about seven years after they first notice a hearing problem before getting a hearing test. But that doesn’t mean people should ignore the signs of hearing loss just because they are below the national average. They may have noticed some of the same things, but they may have gotten used to ignoring the signs that they need a hearing test.
Does your loved one already wear a hearing device? If they’ve been struggling to hear recently, it might be time for their yearly hearing assessment to ensure their hearing aid is still the best fit.
Whatever the case, visit us to find the perfect device to suit their needs and get back to communicating easily.