If you have hearing loss, then you know how hard it is to communicate with people- especially in a crowd. You may be able to hear in a quiet setting but become completely confused the moment you enter a busy restaurant or party. Over time communication issues can lead to opting out of these busier and crowded interactions which often means, unfortunately, all too many missed opportunities to connect as well as missed experiences. All too often people become self-isolated due to hearing loss. Even with treatment, the most common being hearing aids, crowded interactions are difficult. The good news is that there are some strategies you can employ to make communication easier.
Now it’s time to be direct about your hearing loss to the people in your life. When you are open about your hearing loss it not only helps to unpack the lasting stigma of hearing loss of being conflated with confusion and old age but gives you the opportunity to ask for concrete changes in the way they address you to make it easier for you to follow what they are saying. Here are some tips that people with hearing loss across many different degrees and circumstance report help to communicate with greater ease in noisy or controlled settings.
Learning to Communicate
While 90 percent of people with hearing loss suffer from sensorineural, which denotes permanent damage impeding the delivery of sound from the ear to the brain, hearing aids can help. These amazing electronic devices amplify the sounds in your life, allowing you to connect to loved ones, stay active and explore the things in your life you are truly excited about. However, unlike prescription glasses they don’t work overnight. It takes time for you to relearn sounds it hasn’t been accustomed to hearing in years. There are a wide range of features available to help you in different settings, depending on your lifestyle and regular practices. For those who find themselves in crowded settings, directional microphones help the listener to amplify the sounds of the speaker you are facing while quieting sounds in your exterior proximity. Treatment is essential, however, it’s still important to understand it will take extra focus to communicate, even with hearing aids.
Make Sure They Have A Clear View of Your Face
When hearing loss sets in you can rely on your sense of sight to compensate which many learn over years unconsciously. This includes lip reading, facial expression, and body language. When you speak to someone, make sure you have a clear view of them. This will help to eliminate confusion and help understand context clues with greater ease.
Get Their Attention
It takes more focus to listen, so you need to be prepared. Tell the people you want to communicate with to get your attention before speaking. This can mean saying your name before starting to speak to you so you can be poised and ready to listen as well as respond. In addition, changing topics can be confusing when you are trying to follow a conversation. For that person in your family or close friend who is always changing the topic, ask them to say “new topic” before progressing so you can keep track.
Speak Clearly and at an Even Gate
Many people make the mistake of thinking shouting at someone with a hearing loss helps. In truth it only makes sounds more distorted and adds to confusion as well as feeling like a blow to self-esteem. Instead ask people to speak at an even gate and be sure to enunciate words so you can be sure to hear.
Regular Hearing Exams
For those who avoid treatment, we already know how confusion social interactions get even in quiet settings with the people you feel most comfortable with. However, hearing changes over time, so even if you are already wearing hearing aids, it’s important to ensure that you test for progressions in hearing loss annually. Make sure you have your hearing tested regularly to make sure your hearing aids are programmed optimally and that the current model you are using still works for you.
If you suspect that you could benefit from new hearing aids don’t put it off another day. Contact us today to set up your next hearing exam and make sure you have all the tools you need to hear your best.