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If your loved one has a hearing loss, you probably understand the frustration that accompanies the communication process. Repeating what you say, turning down radio and television volumes, and struggling to be understood by your family member or friend can be a daunting task. However, it pales in comparison to the struggles faced by an individual with a hearing impairment. The good news is that communication can still be meaningful and productive. Patience and an understanding of how to communicate with a hearing-impaired person can enhance communication and improve the relationship.
Communicating With A Hearing Impaired Loved One
If your loved one has a hearing loss, it is essential that you show respect and patience during communication. Here are tips that can help you communicate more effectively with a hearing-impaired family member or friend:
- Reduce Background Noise. Turn off the television and the radio, move away from crowds, and if possible find a quiet space. If you and your loved one are at a social gathering, try to find seats away from noisy areas such as the kitchen, serving stations, and the dance floor.
- Do not block your face. As most people with hearing loss read lips, it is vital to keep your hands or anything else away from your face. Your speech will be more precise, and your companion will be able to read your lips easier.
- Get your friend’s attention. Be sure to gain your loved one’s attention before you speak. Saying their name, touching them on the hand, arm, or shoulder, or a wave will suffice in beginning a dialogue.
- Know what works best for them. Ask your companion what works the best for communication. Your loved one will certainly appreciate your consideration.
- Only one speaker at a time. If you are speaking in a group, try to ensure that only one person at a time is speaking. Multiple voices talking at once can make following a conversation awkward for a hearing-impaired individual.
- Eye contact. Face a person who has a hearing loss while maintaining eye contact at all times. Facial expressions and body language are essential.
- Keep a natural tone of voice. Do not shout or exaggerate words as you speak to a hearing impaired person as it may distort your words even further.
- Rephrase. If you are having trouble with your loved one understanding what you are saying, try rephrasing your words into more straightforward sentences.
- Be patient. The essential tip is to be patient with your loved one. Show your loved one a significant amount of respect and by staying relaxed and patient throughout the conversation.
Start Improving Communication Today
If you have no problems hearing or understanding speech, it may be difficult for you to understand the obstacles confronted by a hearing-impaired person on a daily basis. A hearing healthcare professional can support you in understanding the challenges faced by your loved one and offer advice for improving communication between the two of you.