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Tips to Make Communication Easier

Tips For People With Hearing Loss

Face the Speaker: By looking at the person who is talking, you can use visual cues like lip reading and body language to help you understand.

Move Closer: The person's voice will be a little louder if you are closer to it.

Reduce Noise: Mute the TV or radio before starting a conversation.

Position Yourself Well: When you can't turn down the noise, like in a restaurant, sit with your back to a wall, facing the person you want to talk to. Exception: if your hearing aids have directional microphones, face the person you want to talk to, but put the noise to your back, if possible.

Ask for a Rephrase, not a Repeat: Sometimes hearing (or lip reading) different words will help you understand.

Advocate for Yourself: Let people know if you are having trouble understanding them. Suggest how they can help you. Read through the suggestions below.

Tips For Friends And Family Of People With Hearing Loss

Gain Attention: Make sure you have their attention before you speak. Call them by name, wave your hand, or touch them if necessary.

Maintain Visibility: Position yourself so that your face is well lighted, but make sure they don't have to look into the glare from a window or a bright light. Face them squarely or tilt your face toward them. Keep your hands and other objects away from your mouth.

Maintain Proper Distance: A distance of 3 to 6 feet is best. Don't try to hold a conversation when one of you is in another room. On the other extreme, don't shout into their ear. Try to stay in one place while talking.

Reduce Noise: Avoid talking in noisy environments. Get away from crowds, mute the TV or wait for a less noisy moment.

Enhance Speech: Speak at a slightly louder than normal volume and at a slightly slower than normal rate. Speak clearly, but don't exaggerate your lip movements. Don't talk with food, gum, or other objects in your mouth.

Identify the Topic: Mentioning the topic in the beginning gives them a frame of reference. Try not to skip rapidly from one topic to another.

Choose Your Words, Rephrase if Necessary: Try to use simple words in short sentences. If you are misunderstood, say it in a different way because some words are easier to hear or see on the lips than others. You can draw a misunderstood consonant in the air or write a key word as a last resort.

Use Body Language: Body movements, facial expressions and gestures add meaning to your words.

Be patient: Watching and listening carefully is hard work and may cause fatigue. Allow a little extra time for them to process the information and respond before assuming you were not understood. Keep in mind that auditory processing takes longer as we age.

Check comprehension: A hearing impaired person may smile and nod as if they understand, because bluffing is easier than struggling to figure out what you said. If it's important, tell them it's important that you know they understand, so please repeat it back.

Reading tips
Senior motivation

Motivation Tips

If your loved one does not realize the extent of his or her hearing loss, it may be a greater problem for you than for him or her. Without making them defensive, if you can gently point out things they are missing or how often they ask you to fill in missing words for them, it may start to persuade them that it's time to seek help. Don't always be available to be someone's substitute for hearing aids. They need to experience the consequences of untreated hearing loss. Maybe one of these thoughts will provide a little more motivation.

  1. A hearing loss is more noticeable than today's modern hearing aids.
  2. Hearing loss tends to isolate you from the people in your life. Getting hearing help shows them that you care about what they have to say.
  3. Hearing connects us to the world around us. The background sounds of life can be comforting, especially when you live alone.
  4. Studies have shown that uncorrected hearing loss can worsen the symptoms of depression and even Alzheimer's disease. It can also affect self-esteem.
  5. The average person waits 7–10 years to get help for their hearing loss. You're smarter than that!
  6. People with hearing loss tend to depend on others to fill in missing information. Be independent!
  7. Studies have found that people with uncorrected hearing loss earn less than those with corrected hearing loss.
  8. Hearing loss is often related to occupational noise exposure. You worked hard. You've earned those hearing aids!
  9. Safety is an important factor in getting hearing help. You need to hear that your turn signals are still blinking, or your car is making a funny noise.
  10. People (often men) tend to seek hearing help after a failed relationship. Don't wait until yours is in trouble.

If the motivation is there, the first step is to see an audiologist. Going with your loved one to the appointment can be a good idea.

If your loved one is truly resistant to getting hearing help, this book may help you:

How Hearing Loss Impacts Relationships: Motivating Your Loved One, by Richard Carmen, Au.D., 2005.

(We have a copy available in our office.)

How Hearing Loss Impacts Relationships

Contact us today to start your journey towards better hearing.

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Terre Haute, IN 47802

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