When you suffer from hearing loss, it doesn’t just affect you. The effects spread across your family and affect every aspect of communication. It can be more than just difficult at times, causing frustrations and unexpected stumbling blocks. Many of the hearing loss challenges can be resolved if everyone agrees to tackle the problem with strategies to keep contact open and flexible.
Since you are the one with hearing loss, the responsibility starts with you. If you have hearing loss and want to strengthen contact with your family, here are some suggestions to help you and your family communicate more effectively.
Tell your friends and family about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss is the third most common physical disorder in the United States, so it’s time to break the stigma surrounding it! Consider telling your family members, whether close or distant-related, about your hearing loss if you feel comfortable doing so. Tell the people you’re talking to that you have a hearing loss and explain how they can communicate with you efficiently.
Get a hearing aid
If you don’t already have a hearing aid, this should be the first thing you do. It will improve your chances of understanding your family members, especially women and children. They work by canceling background noise and amplifying the frequencies that are difficult to hear.
You’ve already experienced the annoyance of feeling left out of discussions or overlooked. It’s easy to feel left out if you do not catch all the banter being thrown around the kitchen table. Still, it’s important to note that no one is intentionally leaving you out. Your family loves you and isn’t trying to offend you. In reality, they are probably unaware and will need to be reminded regularly.
Cut out the noise
Before starting a conversation, take a moment to switch off the TV, turn down the radio, or close the window if you’re at home. Getting rid of all background sounds will make it easier for you to understand your conversation partner. People with hearing loss have trouble concentrating on speech sounds against background noise.
Make sure your partner is facing you.
If you have hearing loss, you know how difficult it is to understand someone who has their back to you or begins speaking without first gaining your attention. When your family speaks to you, ask them to face you and make sure you’re paying attention before they begin. It’s tough to understand them if they shout at you from the living room. Ask them to come over to you, get your attention, and talk directly to you to ensure an excellent start to the exchange.
Request that they talk at a regular volume
Remind your family that speaking louder doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to hear them. In reality, shouting can distort sounds, making them much more challenging to understand. It also doesn’t help to speak very slowly. Instead, ask them to talk normally and leave pauses between phrases so you can absorb what they’ve said and keep up with the conversation flow.
Request that they speak clearly.
Most of us strive to talk with as little effort as possible. When we chat, we often use slang, shorten words, or trail off. It’s better if they spoke clearly, paying attention to and vowel and consonant clarity.
Request that they use more words.
If their answer to one of your questions is a “yes” or “no,” it can be challenging to decipher what they mean. Even adding a few words to their comments, such as “yeah, I did,” may make a huge difference.
If you don’t understand what your family members say the first time, you should ask them to repeat their statements or question. This will assist you in identifying keywords, allowing you to better comprehend the meaning of their words.
If you’re looking for help choosing the right hearing aid, contact us today! We have the knowledge and experience needed to help you connect again with your loved ones.