Even with the best hearing aids, there will be times when you misunderstand what someone has said. To minimize the frustrations that may occur when this happens, here are some tips both for the individual with hearing loss and their loved ones.
Tips for the hearing impaired
Watch the speaker: Try to position yourself so that the speaker’s face is visible. Even if you don’t read lips, watching the speaker’s face for expressions and lip movements will help add meaning to what you hear.
Minimize noise distractions: Trying to have a conversation with someone while the television is on and the dishwasher is running can be difficult – even for someone with normal hearing. If you really want to hear what is being said, minimize any additional noise sources. If you are in a noisy area, such as a restaurant and your hearing aids have directional microphones, try to position yourself so that the majority of the noise is behind you. Not sure if your hearing aids have directional microphones? Ask your hearing health professional.
Stop bluffing: Don’t fake it! If you didn’t understand what was said – say so! Pretending you understand what is going on when you don’t can create awkward misunderstandings. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Tips for family and friends of the hearing impaired
Have the listener’s attention: Before speaking, say the person’s name to get their attention and wait for a response. This can greatly decrease the need for repetition (and end up saving you time in the long run).
Don’t shout: Shouting can actually make it harder for some people to hear. It can distort the signal in the listener’s ear. Speaking clearly and slowly is best. Pausing between sentences can also be helpful.
Don’t just repeat, rephrase: Quite often, the same one or two words in a sentence will continue to be misheard with each repetition. Rephrasing can help eliminate many frustrations. Refrain from complex words and phrases.
Face the listener: Position yourself so your listener can see your face and lips. Lip reading is instinctive to all of us, but it is particularly important for those with hearing loss, as they are more dependent on lip reading to supplement what they hear than we are.
Be aware of hearing limitations: Never put the listener and their hearing instruments to an unfair hearing test by expecting them to hear well in an unfriendly acoustic environment. Both the hearing impaired and their hearing aids have their limits.
Call Hearing Health Centers at (712) 262-7774 for more information or to schedule an appointment.