How Do I Communicate with Family Members Experiencing Hearing Loss?

January 8, 2020 2:38 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When you or a loved one has been diagnosed with hearing loss, you can supplement with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices—but even with help, it can be hard to adjust to the new circumstances. If you’re a caretaker or family member helping your loved one cope with hearing loss, you might not fully understand what they’re going through. Here are our best tips for coping with hearing loss in California, whether it’s your own or a family member’s.

How you can help your family member with hearing loss

The most important thing for you to understand is that while assistive listening devices can help, they don’t return your family member’s hearing to 100 percent. Depending on the type of device they’re using, they may have trouble following individual conversations in crowded areas, or might not be able to hear you if you’re not facing each other:

  • Get their attention: Don’t assume your loved one can hear you. Get their attention by facing them, waving or tapping their shoulder.
  • Rephrase misunderstandings: You might be tempted to repeat what you just said, louder and more slowly, but a better solution is to rephrase what you said. The new context can help them piece together your meaning. Shouting distorts sound further, making it more difficult to understand.
  • Write it down: When you have important details to get across, like unfamiliar addresses, phone numbers or names, write them down. The visual cue not only helps your loved one get the precise meaning, but it will make it easier for them to process next time you talk.
  • Avoid crowded areas: Having a conversation in a loud, crowded area can make it very difficult to follow one conversation, even if you’re facing them and speaking clearly. If you want to chat, pick a quieter restaurant or coffee shop.
  • Step into the light: Being able to watch a speaker as they’re talking can help your loved one understand what you’re saying, whether reading lips or using visual context clues—pick a well-lit place for conversations.

How you can teach your family to help you with hearing loss

Your family members may forget about your hearing loss in day-to-day life, since it’s an “invisible” disability. While frustrating, it’s important to be patient and communicate what you need so that they can better help you. As with any form of learning, repetition is key—try to be patient as you all adjust to the new normal.

Of course, we suggest showing them this article, too, and adding any helpful tips that you want them to know.

Get hearing loss help in California

Whether you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, the team at Valley Hearing Center – Salinas can help. Our audiologists can help you cope with hearing loss as well as find the right solutions for your individual circumstances. We offer assistive listening devices and other aids as well as free hearing tests and expert advice. Call us today to schedule your next appointment.

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