When you have someone, you love that is losing their hearing or if you are working with people who are hearing impaired, then you may find yourself needing a little bit of advice.
There are lots of things that you can do to make their lives easier, and it won’t take too much effort from your point of view. Even with the best hearing aids on the market, it can be a real struggle.
However, it is important you understand what they are going through and remain patient with them. It can be a difficult adjustment for anyone to go through.
Learn what they are going through
Hearing loss puts a strain on every relationship that that person has. Whether you have gone through it yourself or know someone that has, it is no surprise to learn that hearing loss can lead to feelings of frustration, stress, or hurt through miscommunication.
Learning more about the hearing loss will help you become less frustrated with the person who is losing their hearing and forgive their transgressions against you a little easier. It will allow you to have a little more empathy and understand what they are going through.
Be an ally or an advocate
When you are in a social situation with someone who has hearing problems then one thing you can do is be an advocate and an ally.
In group situations, there is a lot of background noise. You could brief the group you are meeting or the venue where you are going to be with someone who struggles with hearing. You can also sit next to them and make sure that they catch everything that happens in the conversation.
You can relay information to them when you think they have lost it or let them know that you are free to be asked so that they don’t need to address the whole room.
One important thing to remember is not to overdo your help. It can be easy to make them feel like less of a person if you try and do everything for them. If your loved one has hearing problems, then make sure you have an open conversation about what they need and want from you. This means that you won’t stand on their toes.
Essential do’s and don’ts
When someone has hearing loss and perhaps has problems communicating verbally then it is unsurprising that they may struggle at first to be massively involved in social situations and usual society.
However, communication is so much more than just verbal. Body language like gestures and facial expressions can help to convey messages and emphasize meanings.
You need to make sure that you face the person when you are talking to them and try not to cover your mouth. You need to make sure that you get their attention, gently, before you begin addressing them. You need to remember to be flexible when you are talking to someone with hearing difficulties and that you are patient and flexible with them.
Some Helpful Tips
You can rephrase what you have just said rather than just repeat what you have said if they have missed it. It may help the person understand you and the context of your conversation and they may find it easier to hear you. Also, you could move to an environment that has less background noise to disrupt your conversation.
When speaking you should take your time to relay your message. Don’t speak too quickly. If they are lip-reading, they may struggle to keep up with you and so you should allow a little extra time. However, make sure to speak clearly and at a normal volume. When you raise your voice, you don’t speak naturally and so your lip movements may be distorted.
If the person you are caring for is transitioning, then you should show as much support as you possibly can. One way that you can do this is to go along to any hearing care appointments that they have. Not only will this allow you to get a better idea of where they are at but also to help them feel more at ease. You can also ask questions that they may be too embarrassed to ask.
Caring for someone with hearing loss
Communication is vital in every relationship, but it is even more important when one source of communication is limited. It can break down when hearing loss occurs. The best thing that you can do is to remain supportive and encourage them to learn more about their condition and not let it hold them back.