Friends and Family
Hearing loss affects family and friends too
We know that hearing loss affects family and friends too. While the hearing-impaired person in your life misses out on many things, you may also feel irritation, frustration or sometimes even anger because you can’t communicate with them.
This section contains information and suggestions on how you can tackle the problem together with your family or friends.
The best you can do is to help your friend or family member recognize their hearing problem.
Help your friend or family recognize the problem
First of all, suggest that they take a look at a list of hearing loss symptoms. Very often, this will trigger a spark of recognition.
Even better, ask your friend or relative to have a professional hearing evaluation, either from an audiologist or a qualified hearing instrument dispenser, and offer to go with. You might even help by making the hearing evaluation appointment yourself.
Contact us to setup an appointment.
Reluctance is not uncommon
It’s normal to be met with resistance if you raise the question of hearing loss. It can help to involve your family doctor or a friend who already has a hearing aid. Both can help eliminate the insecurity associated with hearing loss, and can offer their advice as to how to tackle hearing loss.
Your support means a great deal to your friend or family member in the weeks following a hearing evaluation and after the fitting of a hearing aid.
Help your friend or relative rediscover sounds
Your friend or relative has to get used to a number of sounds they haven’t heard for some time and have perhaps even forgotten. Getting used to hearing again takes practice and patience. While it is exciting to recapture sounds again, it can also be overpowering.
By taking the time to understand the nature of hearing loss and learn practical ways of supporting, you can help your friend or relative take the first important steps toward rediscovering everyday sounds.
By following the suggestions below, you can communicate much better with someone who has hearing loss.
You can communicate better by:
Speaking clearly and naturally
Speak in a normal tone of voice. Shouting makes many words hard to understand.
- Don’t slow your speech. Speak at a pace that allows words to be clearly distinguished from one another, but not so slowly that you lose the natural rhythm.
Attracting the listener’s attention before you begin speaking
- Before you begin to speak, be sure the listener knows you want to communicate.
Facing the listener
- When speaking to someone with hearing loss, make sure they can clearly see your mouth – especially in noisy environments. Most people have a natural ability to lip read.
- Maintain eye contact while speaking.
- Stay within 1-2 meters (4-6 feet) of your listener.
- If the listener can hear better on one side, try to stay on that side.
Using body language to emphasize your feelings
- We communicate a lot more than we realize through facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice.
Repeating and rephrasing if you are misunderstood
- If you need to repeat a sentence, try using different words that may be easier to understand.
- If someone with hearing loss walks in during the middle of a conversation, bring him up to speed on the subject.
Eliminating or reducing room noise
- Reduce background noise as much as possible before starting a conversation. TVs, radios, air conditioners and even other people talking can greatly affect a hearing-impaired listener’s understanding.
- In noisy places, speak directly into the listener’s ear at a suitable volume (not too loud).
- Avoid sitting on the sidewalk or near open windows close to traffic. When entering a noisy place such as a restaurant, choose a quiet corner instead of the main seating area.
Use these simple suggestions and you’ll soon find that good communications doesn’t have to be difficult. And remember – a little extra consideration and effort will go a long way towards helping the new wearer to get the best from his or her hearing aid.