Do you know someone that suffers from hearing loss? Worldwide, there are over 360 million people who suffer from some type of hearing loss, so odds are you probably do.
People who suffer from hearing loss often struggle to keep up with conversations, or they just avoid human interaction all together because of their frustrations in dealing with hearing loss. Well if you are on the other side of the conversation and want to help, here are a few suggestions to help others with hearing loss deal with their situation a little bit easier.
Be visible: When you speak to someone with hearing loss, make sure they see your face and most importantly make sure they see your lips. Speaking clearly at a moderate pace can help. Yelling makes it harder to read your lips and trying to speak from a different room defeats the purpose all together.
Manage the environment: The environment in which you communicate with someone with hearing loss is crucial. Background noise and large open areas can make it more difficult for someone to understand what you are saying. If you are in a restaurant for example, try to sit with your back against the wall to help reduce background noise while also amplifying you own voice.
Understand their point of view: If you get frustrated when you are talking to someone with hearing loss, imagine on how they must feel. Instead of offering them pity ask them how you can help. Realize that hearing aids are not a cure all like eyeglasses are for your vision. You might not notice it, but they do put in a lot of effort in trying to understand what you are saying. Communication takes effort on both sides.
Never "never mind": To follow up on the previous point, to someone with hearing loss saying "never mind" or something similar feels like a dismissal and a slap in the face all in one. This applies to similar phrases like “it’s not important,” or “forget it.” Heard enough times, this type of brush-off can cause the person with hearing loss to disengage, preferring isolation to insult.
Stay current on new tech: Usually hearing aids alone are not enough for people to hear in most crowded situations. It is important to stay on top of new developments in new technology to support those with hearing loss issues. We at KARE, will be introducing some new products later this year that will help those with hearing issues. While they might not help with improving conversations, they will help improve their overall quality of life.