When hearing loss is a problem, it can be hard to talk to those closest to us. This is one of the biggest problems we face. Because of our hearing loss, our partners, friends, and coworkers may feel just as frustrated as we do. Even though they may need to learn new ways to talk to us, there are some things we can do to make conversation easier. Even when both people have normal hearing, we always use body language and facial cues to help us understand each other. But when hearing loss, it’s essential to get that extra information from a person’s face. If someone is talking to you but not facing you, tell them you have trouble hearing and ask them to turn around so you can see their face.
Face-to-face: When you have people over, try to get rid of any sounds that might be distracting. Noise in the background makes it harder to understand speech. If you’re going to meet in public, ask to meet somewhere without loud music or at a time when it won’t be too busy. If you’re having a conversation with a group and someone starts to say something important, ask to move to a quieter place to talk.
Paraphrase: When there is a short break in the conversation, paraphrase what was said and repeat it to the other person to make sure you heard them correctly.
Don’t bluff it: Don’t act like you can’t hear something! If you can’t hear someone well enough, change the situation or ask them to write down what they’re saying. Even though it may be tempting to act like you’re listening so the conversation can continue, this is pointless and can lead to embarrassing or devastating misunderstandings.
Be patient: When it’s hard to communicate, it’s normal to feel frustrated, but if you can find a way to do it, your social life doesn’t have to end just because you can’t hear as well as you used to.
Hearing aids can supercharge communication with others.
Hearing aids are the best way to treat hearing loss and are also the most common. The goal of hearing aids is to send more information to the brain. This will not only make it easier for you to talk to other people, but it will also keep your brain healthy in the long run.
Our brains change as we go through life without getting our hearing loss treated. The auditory cortex shrinks over time, and even if you get hearing aids, it will take a while to build it back up to the point where you can understand speech. If you get hearing aids as soon as an audiologist tells you to, you won’t have to worry about being unable to hear.
Hearing aids have made huge improvements
Hearing aids today are better than they have ever been. They look better, are smaller, and work much better than the ones our parents used to wear. They can separate speech from other sounds, making it much easier to understand what’s being said. They can use directional microphones to make the sound in front of us much louder than the ambient sound. They support wireless connections to smartphones and other devices, allowing you to stream audio and video material such as phone calls and music, and even let you adjust the volume and playback of the content using a companion app.
Some models even let you take a hearing test and have your fitment adjusted remotely, right through the app. It is well known that hearing loss hurts our relationships.
Studies show that hearing loss makes relationships, friendships, and the workplace more difficult and stressful. We all need to do our part to ensure that people with hearing loss can get help and keep healthy social relationships, which are a big part of living a long, healthy life. Even though the people in your life should do what they can to help you communicate, the best way to make the whole process much, much easier is to get a good set of hearing aids.