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How to Communicate with a Hearing-Impaired Person

a hearing impaired man and his family

It's possible that a person in your life has recently been diagnosed with hearing damage. Hearing damage affects millions of people throughout America and is far more common than most people think. It can also occur at any age and is not just confined to individuals over sixty. As such, it could be your parents, your grandparents, your friend, partner or child that is suffering from hearing damage. If that's the case, it's important to know how to communicate with them effectively. You need to make sure that you are not reducing the amount that you talk to them.

Research shows that a lack of communication can have a negative impact on development and may lead to other health issues. For instance, some research suggests that a reduction in regular conversations can lead to problems with both depression, and in older individuals, dementia. So, how can you make sure that this doesn't become an issue?

Make sure they get treatment

Ideally, the first step should be to make sure that they are getting treatment for their hearing loss. If you don't get treatment for hearing damage, it's far more likely that your hearing will deteriorate further. Crucially, you can have more difficulty recognizing and comprehending words. This is going to make effective communication far more challenging, and it's a danger that people should be aware of but isn't well known. Once word comprehension reaches a certain point, there will no longer be an effective treatment option for hearing loss.

Hearing loss treatment will typically come in the form of hearing aids. These can be obtained from a hearing instrument specialist. They can meet with your loved one and discuss the various options that are available on the market. By doing this, they will be able to find the right solution for them. There are many choices here, including options that provide a variety of tech features, including Bluetooth support. This will make it easier for an individual with hearing damage to communicate on the phone.

Help them get the most from their hearing aids

You need to make sure that they are using hearing aids the right way. Hearing aids need to be charged with good batteries to provide the greatest benefit. They also need to have the right settings enabled and be adjusted for different environments. If you don't do this, then you will find that hearing aids won't provide the full solution that they should.

Communicate clearly

When speaking to a person who is hearing impaired, you need to make sure that you are carefully considering how you talk. Do make sure that you are not mumbling and that say each word as clearly as possible. Avoid covering your mouth and look directly at the individual when speaking. Do keep in mind that a number of people with hearing issues will learn to lip read. By ensuring that your mouth is clearly visible, you can make this as easy as possible for them.

Many people confuse speaking clearly with shouting. This is not an effective way to communicate and will make someone who has hearing issues feel awkward or embarrassed. Instead, speaking clearly without covering your mouth is the best option particularly, if they are using a hearing device like hearing aids provided by a hearing instrument specialist.

It's worth making sure that you regulate the speed at which you talk too. Try to avoid talking in longer sentences that are complex and difficult to understand. When possible, keep things simple with shorter sentences that will be far easier to pick up on, emphasizing key points.

Don't talk from a distance

Even if a person does have hearing aids, you should try to avoid speaking to them from a distance. This is going to cause issues because it means that sound has a greater distance to travel. It's possible that most hearing aids won't be able to pick up on sound from different rooms. Instead, you should sit next to the person and ensure that you are in their range of sight. You should also make sure that you are using their name. This clearly shows that you are communicating with them and will encourage them to focus on what you are saying.

We hope this helps you understand how to communicate with someone who has issues with their hearing effectively. If you are worried that someone in your life could be suffering from hearing loss, it's worth learning more about The Hearing House. You can contact their team on 715-384-4700 for expert advice and support.