If your spouse, family member, or friend has hearing loss you may have observed by now that there is always more to do to help him or her cope with limited hearing. It is important to support those you love — we are here to give you a few tips on how to help back up and encourage those with hearing loss.
Listen to What It’s Like
Hearing loss can often lead to a lack of communication and therefore put a strain on relationships, cause hurt feelings and potentially create frustration. The best way to conquer this road block is to learn what it feels like to experience hearing loss. Gaining perspective can help you help the one you love — being able to relate can increase your patience and empathy. It is important to do your research and ask questions in order to keep your relationships healthy!
Learn Effective Communication
Once you know what it feels like you can begin to learn tactics for better communication. Fortunately for us, relaying a message does not simply rely on oral communication — although it is vital, spoken words are not the only way to get the message across. Gestures and facial expressions enhance the meaning of the point of what is being said. A few helpful tips for better communication:
- Avoid speaking from another room where your loved one cannot see you.
- Face them when talking and keep your mouth uncovered.
- Be flexible.
- Rephrase what you have said instead of repeating it — it may be easier to heardifferent words.
- Move to a different environment with less background noise and better lighting.
- Use simpler sentences.
- Keep your voice clear, slow, and at a natural volume.
- Above all else, do not get frustrated and say “never mind” — never dismiss your loved one as if his or her hearing is not important to you.
Go Along for the Ride
Beyond learning to communicate more effectively, it is important to be there for your partner, friend or family member throughout his or her hearing health journey. Just be there. Show up to the appointments with your loved one, this way you will be able to show support and direct any questions you have straight to the hearing care professional. Write down important questions, vital information, and speak up about the observations you have made.
With these simple tips the communication breakdown that many people struggle with can be greatly improved. Supporting and helping your loved ones that experience hearing loss is important to keeping relationships healthy and happy. Ask questions, show up, encourage them to seek help, and stay vigilant — your loved ones will thank you!
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