Around 15% of American Adults that are aged 18 or over suffer from some sort of hearing loss problems, so you can see from the number that hearing loss problems are not something uncommon at all. More than 38 million adults have hearing loss in America based on the reports of NIDCD. Apart from the adults, about 2-3 children out of every 1000 in America are born with some defect in their hearing. So, you can see a large number of people around you suffer from hearing loss problems to some degree, and it is very possible, you’ll have to communicate with some of them on various occasions.
But as they can’t communicate the way people with normal hearing do, you’ll have to be a bit more understanding while communicating with them. Even though most people with hearing loss use different types of hearing aids these days so that they can listen better to speeches and other sounds, still they can face difficulties while communicating with someone in a crowded place, or communicating with a group of people during social gatherings.
So, you can be of huge help to a person with hearing loss while communicating with them if you adapt to some measures that will help them listen and understand your speeches better. Here are some things that can do-
Gaining Their Attention
It is important that you gain their undivided attention before you start to talk to them. You can try small physical touches such as a light touch on their shoulder or arm to grab their attention before you start talking. It will help them pay full concentration on listening to what you will say. There are many people with hearing loss who listen better in one ear than the other, so you can try talking to their good ear. These little things will ensure that the person with hearing loss is being able to listen and understand the conversation better.
Making Eye Contact While Talking
When you are talking to a person with hearing loss, make sure to face them during the conversation and make eye contact too. During a conversation, we can understand a lot of things from our facial expressions and body language, and the same thing goes for them too. What they lack in their hearing ability, they try to make up for with their observations of your facial expressions, body language, etc. They also might try to read your lips to understand your words better. Besides, conversations become more meaningful when both participants are facing each other, and you can observe each other’s expressions. So, make sure to face them and make eye contact while talking.
If you are about to talk to someone with hearing loss problems, then you might feel that you’ll have to talk louder than usual. But the thing is, you won’t have to shout or talk very loudly. In fact, talking loudly can distort a lot of the things you are saying. Also, make sure not to mumble either. Just speak naturally with a clear voice, and a clear sound. And don’t talk too fast or too slowly. It will help the other person a lot in hearing properly.
Keeping Hands Away from Your Face
When you are making conversations with someone with hearing loss problems, make sure that your hands aren’t covering your face, or aren’t creating problems in seeing your face for the other person. It is important for a hearing-impaired person to get visual cues from your facial expressions, so make sure that they can see your face properly. Also, the sound will travel a lot more smoothly if there isn’t anything obstructing the sound signal on the way.
Making Them Know About The Topic Beforehand
You need to make sure in acquainting the listener with hearing loss the topic of the conversation that’s about to take place. It will help them follow the conversation in a better manner. Also, it is better to avoid changing subjects. And if it is needed to change subjects, let them know what you are going to talk about now. You can repeat key facts or questions before continuing your discussion in a group setting.
If you are providing them with specific information such as phone numbers, specific time for doing something, specific place to go, etc., then make them repeat the specifics back to you. This way you will understand if they’ve got what you said.
Repeating and Rephrasing
While making a conversation with a hearing-impaired person, you might have to repeat something that you have already said. As the other person might have difficulties in listening or understanding what you just said, so repeating the same thing might help them in understanding that better.
Again, sometimes repeating might not work as well, then you might have to rephrase what you said, and say the same thing by using different words. It can help them better understand what you are meaning to say.
Talking As Far from Background Noises As Possible
When you are making conversations with a person with hearing impairment, it is better if you can talk while having as little background noises as possible. It becomes really difficult for hearing-impaired people to listen and understand something if there is a lot of background noise. So, they can’t properly communicate with others in crowded places or social gatherings. So, it is better if you can find a quiet place while talking to them. And make sure to turn off the TV or something else that can create noise while you are talking.
People with hearing loss keep facing a huge amount of difficulties throughout their lives, and most of them during communicating with other people. But you can make sure to lessen some difficulties for them by adapting to some of these measures. The person you’ll talk to in this manner, will find it really helpful, and the conversation will be a meaningful one.
Leave a Reply