We all know that communication is the key to maintaining strong relationships, but that can become a challenge when a loved one has hearing loss. You can employ these simple strategies to improve communication with your loved one.
1. Gain attention – There are a variety of ways in which you can grab your loved one’s attention before starting the conversation. Lightly touch their arm, shoulder or hand to indicate your intention or say their name before starting your sentence to ensure that they do not miss the first words of the conversation.
2. Find the best position – Your physical position when speaking to a loved one can impact how well the message will be received. If your loved one hears better from one ear, move to that side. Make sure to avoid speaking directly into their ear though, as this distorts the sound and also conceals your visual cues. Your ideal position is to face your loved one directly, on eye level, and within three to five feet to maximize audibility.
3. Avoid background noise – Loud environments with a lot of background noise can make it much more difficult for a loved one with hearing loss to hear and understand the conversation. Whether it’s turning off the television at home, the radio in the car, or moving to a quiet area in a restaurant, removing as much background noise as possible will allow your loved to hear more clearly.
4. Rephrase rather than repeat – Rather than repeating what you already said, try phrasing your sentence in a different way. Saying something in a different way can help your loved one understand.
5. Be patient and understanding- Remember that being patient and supportive will allow your loved one to relax and fully enjoy the conversation. Also be aware of the fact that people with hearing loss tend to have a harder time understanding when stressed, tired or not feeling well.
These simple strategies will ensure that you are being as helpful and supportive as possible when engaging with family members and friends with hearing loss. Put these simple tips into practice in order to promote understanding and deeper connection in conversation.
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