The Importance of Communication
It’s all about communication! Sounds obvious? Not so much, actually. Hearing aids exist to help people communicate more effectively, but have you ever thought about how to exploit them to get the best communication experience you can, or about sharing your difficulties communicating with other people? Here are some useful tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your hearing aids.
Top Tips for People with Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Users
- Communicate your hearing difficulties: Consider making those around you aware of your hearing difficulty and letting them know what helps you to hear best. This can share the burden of clear communication and make it a more relaxing activity for all.
- Position yourself strategically: Sit so you can clearly see the face of the people you are with, and arrange the seating so that their faces are not in shadow.
- Minimise background noise: Try to sit away from competing noises, such as large tables or music speakers.
- Ensure equal height: Make sure you and those you are with are sitting or standing at the same height.
- Clear line of sight: Remove any obstacles from your line of sight, such as table menus or flowers.
- Encourage face-to-face communication: Ask people to face you when they speak to you – it gives lots of extra information.
- Utilise your better hearing ear: If you have a better hearing ear, position yourself with this ear towards the speaker.
- Get my attention first: Ask people to get your attention before talking to you.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for repetition or clarification: Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat themselves or speak more slowly or clearly.
- Stay close to the speaker: Don’t stand too far away from the speaker – remember that hearing aids perform far better in close range of the speaker.
Top Tips for Family, Friends, and Others Communicating with Hearing Aid Users
- Maintain eye contact: Ensure you face the person when you speak and don’t cover your mouth.
- Speak naturally: Speak to the person just like you would to anyone else. If they need you to change that, they will ask.
- Get their attention: Try to get the person’s attention before you begin to speak.
- Find an ideal environment: Choose a good place to talk, with good lighting and minimal background noise.
- Be mindful of amplification: Remember that everything is amplified for the person, not only your voice.
- Avoid exaggerated lip movements: The person relies on visual cues to help them hear, so do not exaggerate lip movements, as this can make it more difficult to lip-read/use visual cues.
- Keep your voice natural: Don’t raise your voice unnaturally – the person relies on the natural rhythm of speech to help them hear you.
- Rephrase when needed: If the person mishears you, please try to re-phrase your sentence. Repeating the same phrase over and over doesn’t give their brain anything extra to work with.
Boost Your Hearing Confidence and Master Powerful Communication Techniques
It goes without saying that it is difficult to curate a situation where all of the above are happening simultaneously. But each one of the tips above will improve your communication experience, and the more you can put in place, the better it will be. There will still be situations where you have difficulty, but please try to remember these tips and don’t be afraid to use them!
If you’re not a patient with Novus Health but would like to speak to an Audiologist about your hearing, please ask your GP to refer you for an appointment.