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Ah…. Holiday season is here! It’s a time for reconnecting with family andĀ friends. But for the hard of hearing individual, this may be the time of year they want to avoid. Not because they don’t like family or friends; it’s because having a conversation in a noisy environment may be a daunting and sometimes embarrassing experience for some. Would you like to know how to communicate in a more effective way? Well, read on…

Here are some tips provided by The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Although hearing aids are usually very beneficial, they, alone, may not enable the person with hearing loss to communicate successfully in all listening situations. As a family member or friend of a person with hearing loss, you can help make the most of hearing aids by following a few simple suggestions. Remember, communication involves at least two individuals: a talker who sends the message and a listener who receives the message.

Gain attention
Gain the listener’s attention before you begin talking, for example, by saying his or her name. Face him or her and make eye contact. If necessary, touch the listener’s hand, arm, or shoulder lightly. This simple gesture will prepare the listener to listen and allow him or her to hear the first part of the conversation.

Maintain eye contact
Visual communication is very important. Your facial expressions and body language add vital information to the communication. For example, you can “see” a person’s anger, frustration, and excitement by watching the expression on his or her face. Most listeners make use of lip-reading, naturally. By lip-reading, you can understand some sounds that are more difficult to hear. Lip-reading helps us understand speech, especially in difficult listening situations.

Hands off
When talking, try to keep your hands away from your face. Maintain good manners by not talking with food in your mouth. If you are a smoker, hold the cigarette in your hands while talking. You will produce clearer speech and allow the listener to make use of those visual cues.

Speak naturally
Speak distinctly, but without exaggeration. You do not need to shout. Shouting actually distorts the words. Try not to mumble, as this is very hard to understand, even for people with normal hearing. Speak at a normal rate, not too fast or too slow. Use pauses rather than slow speech to give the person time to process speech.

Rephrase, rather than repeat
If the listener has difficulty understanding something you said, find a different way of saying it. If he or she did not understand the words the first time, it’s likely he or she will not understand them a second time. So, try to rephrase it.

Reduce background noise
Try to reduce background noises when conversing. Turn off the radio or television. Move to a quiet corner or away from the noise source. When going to a restaurant or making dinner reservations, ask for a table away from the kitchen, server stations, or large parties. Take control of the environment; do not let it control you.

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