When you think about your favorite gathering over the years, you probably remember family, friends, and the easy flow of conversation. Maybe there was music or great food or spectacular ambience. We all crave different things when it comes to getting together, but communication is the cornerstone of most of our interactions.
Living with hearing loss will impact how you connect with others, but with some easy adjustments – on both sides – you can carry on being your super social self.
Conversational Tips for the Hearing Impaired
Face the speaker to allow for speech reading cues and to optimize the performance of your hearing aid’s omni-directional microphones.
Lighting matters. Try to position yourself with the sun or bright light behind you, so you’re not fighting glare when looking at a speaker’s face.
Lean against a wall. You’ll look a little devil-may-care and you’ll reduce the amount of noise coming your way.
Ask the host to turn down the background music.
Find a quieter place to socialize. At a party, head to a smaller room or off to the side. At a restaurant, make sure you’re not seated near the bar or kitchen. Closed booths are a great option since they limit noise.
Ask your hearing healthcare provider about noise reduction features.
Plan to go out during off-peak hours. The crowds and noise will be easier to manage.
Be forthright about what you need. Tell people which ear is your better ear. Let wait staff know you have a hearing impairment and ask them to speak slowly.
Take frequent hearing breaks. Conversations in public places are more taxing than conversations at home.
If you’re at a show or lecture, try to find a spot with a clear view of the performers or speakers.
Plan ahead – look at a restaurant’s menu or read a synopsis of a show before you go out. Visit hearing-friendly museums, art shows and theaters.
Relax and have a wonderful time. You may miss a little of the conversation, but it’s important to stay active and connected.
Conversational Tips for Speaking to Someone with Hearing Loss
Speak naturally, but just a little more slowly and with a touch more volume.
Look directly at the person you are speaking with. It’s basic good manners and very helpful to someone with a hearing impairment.
Adjust for strong light, if possible. It’s difficult for someone to watch your mouth for speech clues while looking into a light source.
Make sure you’re in the same room, say the person’s name and wait for them to acknowledge you before you speak.
Rephrase when necessary. Complex sentences can be difficult to track with hearing loss, so focus on succinct language.
Ask if there’s a preferred ear for conversation. Most people with hearing difficulties have a stronger ear.
Limit background noises, like music or the television.
Narrate the conversation. If the topic shifts suddenly, as is common when we chat, take a moment and let the person with the hearing impairment know. Repeat key words and phrases for maximum understanding and retention.
If you are sharing details like phone numbers, directions, dates, or times, write them down or ask for the information to be repeated back to you.
Suggest moving to a quieter area to make the conversation more manageable.
If you, or a loved one, have not sought treatment for hearing loss, schedule an evaluation with us to discuss your hearing health.