If someone in your family is struggling to hear, you’ve probably all experienced the frustration of trying to communicate. Maybe you feel ignored, your loved one feels isolated, and your family dynamic isn’t what it used to be. If you want to solve your communication problems, here are a few tips for the whole family on how to help your loved one hear.
When communicating with someone with hearing loss, it’s easy to take things personally. Your loved one may come across as rude when they don’t hear you from across the room or answer inappropriately. Take a deep breath, and don’t get angry – keep in mind that it is not their fault. Hearing loss interferes with the ability to recognize speech.
If your loved one is struggling to hear, shouting at them from another room won’t help. To facilitate easy communication, get closer to your loved one. Pull up a chair, sit down, and make sure you have their attention before you start talking. It takes two people to communicate, so make sure you’re both ready before you start.
If you’re in a noisy place, like a restaurant or at a crowded concert, stay close to your loved one, and try to position yourself so they can see your face clearly. By following body language or facial cues, your loved one has a better chance of understanding what’s been said and participating in the conversation.
Get Rid of Distractions
If you’re at home, take a second to turn off the TV, turn down the radio, or close the window. Getting rid of all the background noises will help your loved one hear more easily, and make sure everyone can communicate clearly. With hearing loss, people experience difficulty focusing on speech sounds against background noise.
Don’t Yell or Talk Too Slowly
A common mistake we often make is to assume that louder is always better. But that’s simply not the case. If you want your loved one to understand you and follow conversations easily, the best thing you can do is speak clearly. Shouting can actually make it harder to understand you, since yelling distorts speech sounds and makes it difficult to figure out what’s being said.
Slower speech doesn’t necessarily help either. Like yelling, speaking too slowly can change the sounds and make it difficult to understand. Instead, speak at a normal volume and speed, but add pauses at the end of sentences, and leave a few longer breaks. This will allow your loved one time to process what’s been said, keep up with what you’re saying, and respond.
Use Your Words
For someone struggling to hear, using a few more words can make all the difference between understanding what’s been said and getting confused. Stay away from one-word answers like “yes” or “no” and say things like “Yes, I remember” or “No, I didn’t”. It doesn’t take any extra time to add in a word or two, but can save everyone a lot of confusion, and facilitate easy communication.
Don’t Repeat, Try to Rephrase
If your family member didn’t understand what you said, don’t just repeat the same words again. Chances are they won’t understand the second time either, and you’ll both end up frustrated and upset. Rather, find a way to rephrase and use different words.
Encourage Your Loved One to Treat Their Hearing Loss
The Hearing Loss Association of America estimates that people wait seven years from the time they first notice changes in their hearing before they decide to seek treatment. Does your loved one have a hearing device? If not, it’s time to talk about the benefits of hearing aids and encourage them to get a hearing test. At Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center, we offer the world’s best hearing aid manufacturers to ensure that you’ll get the help you need.
We have a wide selection of hearing aids, from traditional behind-the-ear models to sophisticated in-the-canal hearing devices that are nearly invisible. Whatever your hearing needs and lifestyle, we have a hearing aid that can get you back to hearing and make communication a breeze. Advanced features help you tune in on speech sounds, and block distracting noises. Not only that, but many of our favorite devices offer streaming features, so you can talk on the phone with loved ones, and have the audio streamed directly to your ears.
Our family relationships are important for mental, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing. Not being able to communicate with your loved ones can feel like you’re losing them. If you want to improve communication with your family, visit us at Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center today to talk about your options, book a hearing test, and find the hearing device that’s right for you.