If you know that you have hearing loss, you might have developed some of your own strategies for communication. When your hearing ability doesn’t provide enough information to help you understand what others have to say, you might find yourself unconsciously working around these difficulties. You might have even developed your own tactics that you consciously put into action when communication is difficult.
Whether you realize it or not, these communication strategies can make a big difference in your ability to understand what others have to say. And yet, the best strategies can’t cure the root cause of hearing loss, and some find that hearing ability gets worse with time. The only durable solution for your communication problems is to get treatment!
Tip 1: Plan Ahead
In some situations, you can’t really plan for the hearing environment, such as while you’re out and about getting groceries. However, in other situations, you can set the stage to make communication easier for you. If you have family members and loved ones who are willing to accommodate your needs, you can see if family events and parties can be held at home rather than at a loud restaurant. If you do find yourself at a noisy restaurant, you can call ahead to reserve the quietest table they have to offer. For those who struggle to understand one voice among many in a room, you can actually ask to have important conversations in a place without competing voices.
Tip 2: Disclose Your Needs
Rather than leaving your conversational partners guessing how they can help you, why not fully disclose your needs? You might be surprised how willing others are to help you when you simply ask. Explaining that you have hearing loss is only the first step. You also need to give specific details of what makes it easier for you to hear. You might want people to stand closer to one ear than the other or to make sure their faces are unobstructed so that you can read their mouth movements. Whatever makes it easier for you to understand, be sure to let others know that you have hearing loss so that they are more likely to remember to help you the next time, as well.
Tip 3: Use Multimodal Communication
Face-to-face conversations have been the primary means of communication for human history in the past, but other modes are available to us, as well. If you know that you struggle to hear in conversations, you can ask that specific details be sent to you in written form, as well. Whether you prefer a printed document, an email, or just a text message, you can ask others to send you the details in writing so that no confusion arises from the conversation itself.
When it comes to a personal conversation, you might want to ask someone to use technology in other ways. If you are accustomed to using teleconferencing platforms or video calls, these services often provide live transcription to assist you. Perhaps this feature will be better than a traditional phone call for you. Once you understand your needs, don’t hesitate to ask others to help you.
Tip 4: Get Treatment
These communication tips can go a long way toward making it easier and more effective for you to converse with others. However, none of these tricks will make your hearing loss go away. In fact, many people find that their hearing gets worse with time, meaning that some of these tips might become obsolete as the years go by. If you know that you have hearing loss, the best step you can take toward better communication is to get treatment.
Hearing aids have advanced remarkably when it comes to their ability to fill in the gaps in conversation, reduce background noise, and even isolate the voice of a single speaker in the room. If you have not yet had a hearing test, that is the first step for you to pursue. Once you have a full diagnosis of your needs, our hearing health professionals can point you toward the hearing aids that are suited to your individual hearing profile and your active lifestyle, as well.