Autumn is here and your social calendar may start to fill up soon with events and gatherings. Socializing is great for our well being, but if you have a hearing loss the prospect of group communication can be daunting. To help you feel more confident and to make the experience more enjoyable we have put together some communication tips for people with hearing loss.
Did you know that communication is only 7% is about the words used, while 38% is about tone? Another 55% is about body language, which includes visual cues and gestures.
Good communication has some basic requirements. Start by making sure you have the other person’s attention by saying their name or gently touching their arm. Be sure to limit distractions and potential interruptions so that you can focus and be patient and willing to make simple adjustments where possible.
Positioning. If your hearing is one sided try to always have your better side towards the conversation. Also try to find quiet and well lit spots where background noise is at a minimum and you will be able to lip read easily.
Lip reading can provide you with extra information that will help you understand what is being said. Perhaps mention to those you are communicating with that you rely upon being able to follow their mouth as they speak. You could explain that it helps if you can see their face as they speak and ask them to refrain from eating or drinking whilst talking.
Expressive gestures. Watch for non verbal cues such as hand gestures and facial expressions. They are are indicators of context and also an insight into what the person really thinks and feels. Remember to try to use these gestures when you speak.
It can help to have a back up plan and writing things down is sometimes the simplest and quickest way to say what you need to. Carry a small notepad and pen with you for these moments.
Online interactions such as email and texting and social media are also great ways to communicate in writing and most people are happy to do this.
The most commonly used piece of communication technology is the telephone. However if you have a hearing loss it may not feel that easy. Try a captioned phone and you will never miss a word again. These useful devices will provide you with captions of what is being said so you can read along as you chat.
Also bear in mind your telephone technique, speak clearly and directly into the mouthpiece and try to limit background noise during the conversation. Try out other useful technologies such as Skype which is a video calling application. If you are visiting public venues look out for hearing loop technologies that can connect to your hearing aid.
Experiment with these techniques to find the ones that suit you best. If you would like further help with your hearing aids or discussing suitable products to compliment your needs please call us on 507-208-7002 or click here to book your next hearing assessment today.