Hearing loss can make conversations and social outings a struggle—but there are some steps you can take to make communication easier:
- Don’t try to hide your hearing loss.
If you let the person you are talking with know that you have a hearing loss, he or she will be more inclined to look directly at you and speak clearly and slowly. If you seem to get confused in the conversation, your partner will know it’s due to your hearing loss and not because you are not paying attention.
- Wear your hearing aids.
Wearing your hearing aids should make things easier for you.
- Use your eyes as much as possible.
Hearing will be easier when you can also see the person you are speaking with. Get closer to your speaking partner, and make sure you can see his or her face. And don’t expect to hear everything, especially if it’s noisy in the room.
- Be prepared for noise!
If you’re going to a noisy restaurant, try to go at less busy times to avoid large crowds. Try choosing restaurants with carpet and drapery; these help absorb the sound, and there will not be as much echoing. It is always best to have the room’s noise behind you, and the person you want to hear in front of you, because your hearing aids are designed to work best in that situation.
If you’re going to a lecture or religious service, get there early and sit in front. Also, many public auditoriums or places such as movie theaters have devices for people with hearing loss. They often work very well; ask for them and try them out!
5. Keeping track of the conversation
Repeat back what you heard to make sure you’re on track with the conversation. This will allow you to not get too lost, and may save you from embarrassment later on.
Try to be specific about what you missed during a conversation. Instead of saying, “huh?” or “what?”, repeat back what you did hear. For example: “You’re going out at what time?” This strategy helps the speaker avoid repeating everything he or she said.
If the person is speaking too fast, ask him or her to slow down. Be specific as to what will help you more.
- Be patient with yourself
Be patient with yourself and your communication partners. You will not always understand everything, but by using these ideas, you should get the most important information.
In the next blog post, we’ll cover some tips for your family, friends, and others you communicate with!