Advice From Your Audiologists in Salinas: Seven Tips for Communicating With a Hearing Impaired Person

January 1, 2016 5:56 am Published by Leave your thoughts

As audiologists in Salinas, the team here at Valley Hearing Center talks to spouses, relatives and friends of newly hearing impaired people nearly every day. Often, these loved ones want to make their communication with the hearing impaired individual as effective and enjoyable as possible, but are not sure how to do so. If your loved one is hard of hearing, you might be facing a similar predicament. Here are seven tips we often provide the loved ones of our hearing impaired clients to ensure that you continue to have conversations that are fruitful and engaging on both ends:

  • Make yourself visible: Many hearing impaired people use visual cues, such as lip reading, facial expressions and hand gestures to help them navigate a conversation. When talking, make sure you are fully visible to them to help make the most of these cues.
  • Speak clearly: Do not mumble, and make sure you fully enunciate your words and do not use uncommon abbreviations in your conversation. That said, there is no need to shout, or to over-enunciate, as this can actually make you sound more distorted to your hearing impaired companion. Also, if one ear has better hearing than the other, try to position yourself by that ear.
  • Address them directly: When you want to begin a conversation with a hearing impaired person, make sure you say their name clearly, and so that they can see you doing so. Otherwise, they might assume you are speaking to someone else, which can be frustrating for everyone.
  • Notify them of subject changes: If your conversation suddenly changes subjects, take a moment to ensure your hearing impaired loved one is aware of the switch. If not, they might still be searching for words related to the previous subject, which can throw off the whole conversational flow.
  • Minimize background noise: Background noise can make it very difficult for a hearing impaired person to distinguish between your conversation and other sounds. Keep music, television and other background noises to a minimum, and save important conversations for more quiet environments.
  • Manage repetition: If your loved one cannot understand something you say, avoid repeating the exact phrase, and instead try to find a different, clearer way of saying it. However, encouraging your friend to repeat back key phrases to show they heard you and are following along is not a bad idea.
  • Practice patience and understanding: Communicating with a hearing impaired person will not be as easy as speaking with a fully hearing person, but it can have the positive side effect of prompting you to slow down, work together and focus on what is really important. Make sure you are patient throughout this process, and understanding of any setbacks.

If your hearing impaired loved one is curious about what hearing aids and other advanced technologies and treatments might be available to them, we hope you will refer them to Valley Hearing Center, your local, fully experienced and reliable audiologists in Salinas.

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