It’s hard to hear!
You may not agree with this statement unless you are part of the 466 million people in the world of hearing loss. And WHO expects this number to reach 630 million by 2030 and exceed 900 million by 2050.
I was diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of 10 and have been wearing hearing aids for about 40 years. From my personal experience, I have come up with tips for helping people with hearing loss enjoy social interaction.
By interacting with others, they become less isolated, which encourages them to socialize further. Rather than hiding in a quiet place, people wearing hearing aids can interact with others as enjoyably as they do in the room.
Why do you hear the Hard of Hearing (HOH) challenge?
Listening is a challenge because you miss so many words. This can create an interesting situation if your reaction is significantly different than expected. Because what you hear is not exactly what you are told!
Unfortunately, if you’ve just been diagnosed with hearing loss recently, you may not appreciate humor as you’re still struggling to embrace this new way of life. Social situations are often withdrawn and avoided so as not to be embarrassed. And it’s very difficult to understand what is being said in order to avoid concentrating fatigue.
The worst thing a person with hearing loss can do is say “don’t care” when asked to repeat what they missed. They experience it as an immediate dismissal, showing a lack of respect and making them feel unimportant.
Let’s talk about how it can help improve the social situation of HOH.
How can I communicate effectively with hearing loss?
When it comes to effective communication, all seven little-known tips for effective communication apply. Still, there are some other tips to follow to help you communicate with people with hearing loss.
1Always get our attention before talking to us
Keep in mind that if we don’t see you, we’re unlikely to hear you (or know you’re talking to us). I also find it difficult to determine the direction of sound. This makes it difficult to focus on what you hear.
2Look at us while talking
This not only helps us hear more words, but also uses body language cues and lip reading to help us understand what we hear.
3Please tell me the context
It can be difficult to understand without context, as you may miss many words or hear only part of them. If you hear “ot” during a conversation, it could be a pot, rot, or lot. Contexts help you understand the right words and follow the conversation correctly.
FourDo not cover your face or mouth when speaking
This not only weakens the sound, but also robs you of valuable help (lip reading) that helps you follow the conversation.
But what about masks?
Due to the pandemic, everyone must wear a mask to protect themselves and others. Masks are a serious challenge for HOH. In addition to dampening the sound, lip reading cannot be used to aid understanding.
To help people with hearing loss, always face us when speaking. If it is safe, pull down the mask. For example, if you are wearing a transparent face screen, or if you are working behind a protective screen.
If this is not possible, you can try to speak loudly and as clearly as possible (but don’t scream). If everything else fails, just write down what you need to say.
FiveVolume is useless
The instinct is to speak louder when you realize that the person is not listening to you. However, this is useless as it distorts the sound. It also makes lip reading difficult because of the different word formation methods. Instead of repeating, you need to speak more clearly or paraphrase.
6Be aware of environmental factors
Even people with normal hearing struggle in a noisy environment. Older types of analog hearing aids increase the volume of all sounds (voice and background noise). This makes it difficult for people with hearing loss to track conversations in a noisy environment, as they cannot pick up audio for all background noise.
The new digital hearing aids are much better at cutting background noise, but they’re still not perfect.
Poor lighting can be annoying because you can’t read your lips without seeing a person’s face.
In these situations, allow HOH personnel to choose the best settings to follow the conversation. Or, be polite and talk to them in a quiet place.
7Group conversation is a challenge
People with hearing loss can concentrate on just one person at a time.
This means that when another speaker starts speaking, they often miss the first part of the sentence. And there is no way to predict who the next speaker will be. It’s hard to overcome this, but it helps if someone next to you can repeat what you missed or fill in you if the topic of the conversation changes.
But above all, it is important for everyone in the group to understand if people with hearing loss are less involved in the conversation.
For most people, listening and listening is easy. Something you just happen without any effort on it. However, it is not suitable for people with hearing loss. Hearing aids are useful, but they are not like glasses that take you from blurred vision to full vision.
Which of these tips do you practice today? Some of these tips also help improve general communication.
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Author: Susan van der Walt
Author: Susan van der Walt Reader | Freelance Writer | Book Blogger https://susanvanderwalt-author.medium.com/