Thursday, December 19, 2013

Talking with someone with a hearing loss

Quite often, when understanding conversation in group settings is challenging, those with hearing loss tend to withdraw and isolate themselves from group settings.  

Keep these tips in mind when communicating with someone with a hearing loss:
  1. Speak face to face.  Those with hearing loss, even when wearing hearing aids, depend on facial expressions and lip movements to fully understand what is being said.
  2. Always carry on conversation in the same room.  It is not possible to carry on a conversation from a different room, particularly if there is other noise, i.e. the dishwasher, fan, water or television set.
  3. Try not to converse with food or gum in your mouth.  This makes it difficult for him to read your lips.
  4. Speak clearly and distinctly.  It is not necessary to raise your voice or “yell”.
  5. Seat your father away from noisy environments, away from heating ducts, running water, entryways or restaurant kitchens.  If seated in a restaurant, be sure to find a quiet location and sit across the table from your father.
  6. If it appears he is not following the conversation, ask him exactly what he has heard and patiently guide him back into the conversation.

Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal.  They are very helpful in improving the ability to communicate, but it is necessary for everyone to contribute toward a successful conversational situation.  The person with hearing loss needs to advocate for themselves.  Family, friends and co-workers must be told what is needed to help improve communication.  Hearing loss is invisible and it is easy to forget that someone has a hearing loss.  If you use these simple tips, your loved one should be able to participate successfully in all of your family gatherings, making this a Happy Holiday season.  

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

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Pictured obtained on 11-26-13 from:

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