How can you help someone who has hearing impairment?
About 90% of people with hearing loss can be helped by wearing hearing devices. Hence, the foremost important support you can provide to your loved one with an untreated hearing loss is to offer positive healthcare professional. A simple step by an offer to accompany them to their hearing evaluation will help them to make a big step forward.
Even when someone with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening skills, they may still struggle to hear at times. Many will think poor communication problems are mainly because of poor hearing. However, there are many factors that can cause a breakdown in communication for example heavy accent or poor pronunciation, background noise or dim lighting, unfamiliar topic, fatigue, illness, or difficulties with attention or language (ASHA, 2015).
Thus, we must practice good communication techniques to helps friends and families of those with hearing loss. There are many ways you can help to make communication easier and reduce the feelings of frustration and isolation that can characterize hearing loss. Here are some tips to support them.
- Ensure eye contact
Look directly at the person and be sure you have the person’s attention. Make sure your face can be seen clearly and avoid distracting movements such as putting your hands in front of your face, touching your hair, chewing or smoking.
- Speak clearly and slowly
Do not speak too quickly and avoid shouting or exaggerating mouth movements as it will distort the sound of speech and make speech reading more difficult. Speak normally and articulate clearly will help them a lot.
- Use non-verbal cues
Use appropriate facial expressions, gestures and body language to help communicate what you are saying. Moreover, the information obtained from watching people’s lip is especially informative and contribute greatly to understanding speech to hearing-impaired people.
- Reword or rephrase
Reword your sentence if the person does not understand what you are saying, rather than repeating the original words over and over, as some words are easier to hear or lip-read than others.
- Take turn speaking
Take turns speaking and avoid interrupting other speakers.
- Move closer
Avoid speaking from a distance, for example from another room. Sit or stand close when speaking. Take note if their hearing better in one ear and speak closer to their right or left side.
- Move away from competing noise
Be aware of environmental noises such as music, air conditioners or refrigerator hum. Try to reduce background noise, for example, television or radio, if possible when talking.
Lastly, what you can simply do is just by asking if there is anything you can help them in improving their listening situation. Your understanding, patience, and consideration of this will help them a great deal.