Hearing loss can be scary, but it is a lot easier with people who love and support you. Sometimes though, the people you love want to be supportive but simply do not know enough about hearing loss to be helpful. The best way to help your loved ones help you is to communicate. Here are a few tips to help the channels of communication open with the people you love the most.
1. Be honest.
The best part about maintaining relationships with those you love is that you can trust them! You should not be embarrassed to tell them to speak up or ask if the two of you can move to a quieter room if you need to. Asking a loved one to repeat a sentence or a story lets them know that you care about what they are saying. Do not be afraid to be honest with the people you love the most in your life–you will not regret being informed about his/her life.
2. Give them tips.
If you find it particularly difficult to hear someone from another room or if you need prompting when someone begins speaking let them know for future reference. If your loved one knows he or she needs to face you in order to be heard, tell them! Give them specifics, because the more they know the more they can include you in the conversation.
3. One-on-one time for communication.
Talking to one person at a time–especially at a party or in a group setting–can be particularly helpful. Having one person to focus on instead of having to keep up with an entire group, can help conversations stay clear. If someone needs to have an important talk with you or if there is someone you are catching up with, go to a quieter space or another room in order to put your full attention on what he or she is saying.
4. Turn down background noise.
Whether it is at your house or someone else’s one of the best things to do is turn down or even turn off background noise. If you are trying to listen to someone and the sound is getting muddled by the loud television or the music playing in the background, simply eliminate the issue. The less sound elements to distract you from your conversations the better!
5. Have them ask questions.
Chances are your loved ones are curious about your hearing loss. People are afraid of what they don’t know, so fill them in! The better informed your loved ones are the more they can keep you involved and help you out. These are the people who consider you an important part of the conversation–help them help you!
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