If you or one of your loved ones are part of the 36 million Americans dealing with hearing loss, then you are familiar with difficulties that often arise when communicating.
To commemorate May being Better Speech and Hearing Month, Carsten Trads, president of Clarity, shares a few tips that should ease communications between family and caregivers and those with hearing loss.
- Don't speak too fast and don't mumble. If asked to repeat yourself, try using different words than the first time.
- Be expressive! Hand gestures and facial expressions can help give clues about what you're saying.
- Maintain eye contact as you are talking to someone with hearing loss.
- Use simple words and expressions. Plain language can make it easier to comprehend what is trying to be said.
- Don't speak for or answer for a hearing impaired person when talking with others. Give them time to respond.
- Everyone reads lips and facial cues to better understand conversations. Stand in well-lit areas to help with communication.
- If you have hearing loss, remind people and mention that they need to get your attention before beginning to speak.
- Don't be passive. If hearing or understanding a conversation is unusually difficult, say so.
- Instead of saying "What?" when you don't understand what you heard, repeat the parts of the statement that you did hear.
- If you notice a change in your hearing, contact your doctor. Your regular doctor can refer you to an ENT (otolaryngologist) or audiologist. Also, get hearing checkups if you're exposed to loud noises regularly (e.g. you work at a factory).
Carsten Trads is president of Clarity, a division of Plantronics and the leading supplier of communication solutions for people with hearing loss, such as amplified telephones. View our selection of Clarity telephones.