Research shows that hearing loss can produce feelings of embarrassment, frustration, and distress for both the person affected by it and their partner. Ultimately, the communication breakdown brought on by hearing loss can create a rift in any type of relationship— not just between couples but also among family members.
While the challenges that stem from communicating with a hearing-impaired loved one can understandably become overwhelming, there are things you can do to head them off before they put a strain on your relationship. Here are some tips to help you communicate well and reconnect with someone you care about despite their hearing issues:
Tip#1 Mention your loved one’s name or tap their shoulder when starting a conversation.
This way, you give the person a chance to focus their attention and help them fully catch what you’re saying.
Tip#2 Speak on the same level as the other person and in good lighting.
This helps the affected person see your body language and stay engaged in the conversation as well as makes it easier for them to read your lips.
Tip#3 Get rid of background noise before you talk to the person.
Turn off or turn down the volume of the TV or radio. Also, if you’re in the middle of doing something, especially any task that involves noise (e.g., vacuuming, etc.) when your hearing-impaired loved one tries to talk to you, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to them.
Tip#4 Use visual cues.
Make appropriate facial expressions or direct the other person’s attention to what you’re talking about by pointing to it.
It also helps to ask the person tactfully if they understood you, or use leading questions to ascertain your message got across.
Tip#5 Avoid shouting.
Be patient, and speak clearly, naturally, and distinctly—without exaggeration or shouting. While frustration can drive you to do so, shouting will only make your voice get distorted and your words even more difficult to understand.
Tip#6 Encourage your loved one to see a hearing specialist.
Sometimes, the solution can be just as simple as seeing a hearing specialist. Have your primary care provider refer you to a hearing specialist within their network, so you can schedule a hearing test and get your loved one fitted for a hearing aid.
If your loved one is in denial, getting a hearing test may be a good starting point. If you get pushback, hear them out, but try to remind them how life can be so much better if they are able to hear well. You can also try to appeal to their sense of family: explain to them that this is a perfect solution for everyone else, not just for them.
Hearing Specialist in Georgetown, Texas
At Georgetown ENT, Dr. Scott Franklin, our double board-certified otolaryngologist, works in tandem with Abeda Mueed, our highly qualified clinical audiologist, to provide highly innovative solutions for all types of hearing loss.