When a loved one has hearing loss, communication can be a struggle. They often ask you to repeat yourself, or they may just smile and nod along even if they have no idea what you said. It’s heartbreaking when communication breaks down. Your family relationships are some of the most important relationships in your life, so being able to communicate is essential.
Here are a few tips to improve communication with your family. These tips can help you overcome communication challenges with your loved ones.
Get Their Attention
Your loved one with hearing loss wants to hear everything you have to say, so don’t start talking until you know they are paying attention. Start a conversation by saying their name or touching them on the arm. Communication will be much easier if they’re paying attention when you start speaking. If they don’t realize you’re talking to them until you’re half way through a sentence, they have little chance of understanding the rest.
Turn Off Background Noise
Is the TV or radio on? Turn if off before having a conversation with your loved one. Hearing loss makes it hard to separate speech from background noise. Turning off background noise will make it much easier to communicate.
Get On The Same Level
If your loved one is sitting down, pull up a chair. Speaking from the same level makes it easier for your loved one to communicate. They’ll have a better view of your face, notice all your facial expressions, and even read lips to help them understand exactly what you’ve said.
Speak in Full Sentences
It’s best to avoid one-word, or very short answers. Your loved one with hearing loss is straining to hear every word you’re saying, and they often rely on context and piecing together a few words to get the gist of what you’re saying. If you only say one or two words, they will have a harder time understanding you.
Speak Clearly, Not Loudly
Take it from us, yelling doesn’t work! Communicating with your loved one will be easier if you speak clearly and resist the temptation to shout. When you raise your voice, it can distort sounds and make it harder to hear. Instead, speak clearly and pronounce each word correctly.
Add In a Pause
Give your loved one time to catch up and process what you’re saying. Add pauses between phrases or sentences, but don’t drag out individual words. These pauses help your loved one communicate, and they’ll also have a chance to ask you to repeat something they didn’t understand.
Rephrase What You Said
Did your loved one ask you to repeat yourself? Don’t repeat what you said word for word. Some of the words you said may have been harder to hear, or fall outside their range of hearing. Instead of repeating exactly what you said, rephrase the sentence. This gives your loved one a better chance of understanding what you said.
Encourage Your Loved One to Book a Hearing Test
Does your loved one know if they have hearing loss? Improving communication with your family starts with a hearing test. Encourage your loved one to book a hearing test at Hearing Centers of Indiana. You’re welcome to join your loved one at the appointment, and together we’ll find out what sounds they are missing.
Wearing Hearing Aids
If your loved one has a hearing loss, the best way to improve communication with your family is with hearing aids. Modern hearing technology is designed with communication in mind. Speech enhancement programs pick up on speech sounds and amplify them. Hearing aids also have directional microphones that help your loved one focus on the conversation in front of them and ignore any distracting sounds behind them.
Get Help from The Professionals
If you and your family have tried all these tips, but you’re still having a hard time communicating, make an appointment with our team. Hearing aids need regular servicing and maintenance, so we’ll take a look for any signs of damage. We’ll also test the hearing aids to make sure they still match your loved ones’ hearing needs. We can also recalibrate the hearing aids to match your loved one’s hearing needs and help them get back to enjoying conversations with the family.