To have a proper conversation, we need everyone to be involved in the discussion. Even for individuals who are dependent on hearing aids and assistive listening devices, our communication strategy should be in sync with their comfort and understanding. Thus we need to be careful and specific while talking with someone whose hearing is impaired. If you have have a friend or a colleague or even an old family member with hearing problems, then this article is a must read for you.
Below we have mentioned some of the ways that one should be aware of while talking to them:
• Talk clearly and gradually, without yelling or overstating mouth movements. Yelling twists the sound of speech and may make speech reading progressively troublesome.
• Try not to talk from another room. Inability to see each other while talking can be the reason for misunderstanding.
• Before beginning a conversation say a person’s name. This will make the listener more attentive and decrease the chance of missing any part of the discussion.
• Avoid talking too quickly or utilizing sentences that are excessively unpredictable. Speak slowly, pause in between sentences or expressions, and wait to make sure you are understood before going on.
• Don’t use your hands too much while talking. Do not engage in any other activity like eating, smoking, etc. while talking to them. Some hearing impaired listeners hear better in one ear. Remembering that will help both of you when you are talking.
• Know about the possible distortion of sounds for the hearing impaired person. They may hear your voice, yet at the same time may experience difficulty understanding a few words.
• Most hearing impaired people have greater trouble understanding speech when there is background noise. Try to limit external noise while talking.
• Few people with hearing loss are extremely sensitive to loud sounds. Avoid talking in such situations where there will be loud sounds if possible.
• If the hearing impaired person experiences issue understanding a specific expression or word, try to explain in a different method for saying a similar thing, as opposed to repeating the first words again and again.
• Familiarize the listener with the general point of the discussion. If the listener does not understand what you are saying, then don’t jump to some other topic. If you are changing the subject, then tell the hearing impaired person so, that he will know what are you talking about.
• If you are giving specific information, such as, time, spot or telephone numbers – to somebody who is hearing impaired, have them repeat the specifics back to you. Numerous numbers and words sound alike.
• If some information is very important, then give it to them in writing, such as directions, schedules, work assignments and so on.
• Remember that everyone, especially the people who deal with hearing difficulties, have a harder time hearing and understanding when sick or tired.
• Pay attention to them; sometimes it may look like they understand what you have said. Ask them questions to ensure that they really got the right message.
• Take turns while speaking to them and avoid interrupting.
• Take part in aural rehabilitation classes to understand what your hearing impaired spouse or friend is saying.
• While talking to the hearing impaired person, face them directly while maintaining eye contact. This way the person can understand when you communicate with them.
Hearing aids are beneficial in many situations. However, there are some listening events where hearing aids alone cannot provide enough benefit. In those situations, communication partners can help the person with hearing loss be more successful in hearing. Remember, communication involves at least two individuals: a talker who sends the message, and a listener who receives the message.
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