With the days getting longer and the weather improving, social get togethers are increasing, and the Christmas break is now only a couple of months away. For those with a hearing loss, this can be a challenging time.
Here are a few communication tips to make it easier.
Wear your hearing instruments
The most important first step to hearing well has to be to wear your hearing aids. They won’t do you any good in a drawer or handbag! Modern digital hearing aids are more than simple amplifiers. They are designed to help you focus on speech and filter out, or reduce, background noise.
A louder, clearer speech signal will improve your ability to communicate, and increase your enjoyment of social situation.
Modify the background noise
The sound environment has a significant impact on our ability to hear the things we wish to. As the noise levels increase, we all speak louder, and the overall volume quickly increases. This results in a noisier, more challenging environment, for those with a hearing loss. Anything that you can do to reduce the background noise will make listening easier for you, and for everyone else.
You may be able to improve the situation by doing one or more of the things below:
- Turn off, or turn down the volume of any background sound. For example music, TV or radio
- Leave the dishes until later. For people with a hearing loss the clatter of dishes is very distracting.
- Choose a café or restaurant that you know is quiet
- Stay out of the wind (the sound of the wind on the microphones will not be helpful
Be a pro-active listener
It simply isn’t always possible to avoid noise. So, when you’re stuck in it, you need to make the best of a bad situation.
- Find a quiet corner to converse
- Avoid standing close to a noisy kitchen or a loud speaker playing music.
- Keep your back to the noise so that the directional microphones can work their magic. Read here to understand more about this.
- Look at the person you are talking with. Seeing the faces of people speaking and their gestures will help with lipreading and your ability to follow what is being said.
- Good lighting is essential, as is removing any barriers like table decorations.
- Have a friend or relative who can repeat things you may have missed so you can feel more confident and included in the conversation.
Be a good communicator
When speaking to someone with a hearing loss, there are things you can do to assist them too.
- Speak clearly and avoid covering your mouth
- In a group conversation ensure only one person speaks at a time
- Maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to
- Try rephrasing in a simpler way, rather than repeating, if you are not understood
- Do not raise your voice more than you would need to with other listeners as this may distort your voice
We hope you find these communication tips useful.