Communication can be frustrating or stressful because of hearing loss. Here is a list of some of the things you can do to help make communication easier:
1. Let the person you are talking with know you have hearing lossBefore you start a conversation. This will help them to adapt their approach when communicating with you.
2. Make sure you can clearly see themTheir face, eyes, lips and body – their gestures and facial expressions will help you to understand what they are saying.
3. Make sure everyone is positioned in the best way. Ask the other person to stand with the light on them, not behind them, so you can see their lip pattern and facial expressions clearly. Stand with your best ear nearest them, if your hearing is better in one ear than the other.
4. If you can, limit background noise. Go to a quiet spot or room. This may allow you to better concentrate on what is being said without disruption.
5. Use any available equipment to aid youFor example a hearing loop, amplifier or a digital app.
6. Ask the person to look at you, to talk clearly and slowly, and to keep their hands away from their face. Then it will be easier to understand the conversation by following their lip pattern and/or looking at their facial expressions.
7. Learn to lip read. This is a good skill to have; most people find themselves having to do this in noisy places.
8. Ask the person to repeat themselves. If you don’t catch what they are saying the first time, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat it or say it in a different way. You can also ask them to write down important information. No one understands what people are saying all the time!
9. Try to stay calm. If you are less anxious or flustered, it will be easier for you to follow what is being said.
10. Don’t give up. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to adjust to hearing loss. Take your time to learn and practice these tips and get peer support from others on online forums or a Living With Hearing Loss course or group.