27 Aug How To Tell People About Your Hearing Loss
As in individual with hearing loss you are your own greatest advocate for hearing health awareness. You have been through the thorough testing process; you have also been educated on your hearing loss and hearing devices. You are in a prime position to help others understand hearing loss, your communication needs, and to perhaps encourage them to take action to have their hearing assessed. Below are some helpful suggestions that will help empower you to educate others regarding your hearing loss and needs.
Do not be embarrassed to disclose your hearing loss
While many individuals are often tentative for others to find out about their hearing loss or hearing aids, it is often very helpful to be forthcoming about your recent experience. Most individuals are very interested to learn about the process of acquiring hearing aids. You never know, it may be something they have been contemplating themselves and hearing about your experience may be just the call to action they need. Furthermore, friends and family tend to be much more accommodating when you communicate your needs. In most instances they are happy to do anything that enhances your communication ability. Communication is a two way street so you are also helping them as well as yourself.
If you find yourself in a less than ideal communication situation and can see modifications that could be make to improve your listening ability, be sure to speak up. Whether it’s asking to sit near the middle of the table at a busy restaurant, or turning off the radio during tea with a friend, anything that you can do to manipulate the environment that improves your communication ability is worthwhile so don’t be afraid to take action.
Do not bluff
Out of politeness many of us tend to not acknowledge when we have missed a portion of a conversation, allowing the speaker to continue with the misunderstanding that we know what has been said. This can lead to communication breakdown, misunderstandings, and frustration. If you are listening to someone speak and miss a portion of what they have said be sure to ask for clarification.
Be a good listener
It is important to really listen to your communication partners. Listening from another room or with undivided attention is a huge challenge for hearing impaired individuals. It is always best to ensure you are facing the individual you are conversing with to gain helpful visual cues to supplement what you may miss. It’s also very important to make sure communication remains a two way interchange. Some individuals with hearing loss have a tendency to monopolize conversations because it’s much easier to talk than listen.
Active listening allows an individual with hearing loss to ‘fill in the blanks’ more effectively by using contextual cues. Therefore, it is not always essential to ask for repetition if you make it a practice to actively engage in listening and understanding what has been said. Furthermore, if you do miss an essential component of the conversation, rephrase what you did hear instead of simply saying ‘what’. This shows that you were interested and reduces frustration for your communication partner.
As mentioned your communication partners are generally all too happy to do anything they can to improve communication. If you are hearing them well commend them of how they are speaking at that time, as a result they will feel rewarded for making an effort and will be more likely to continue communicating optimally.