Enjoying a good conversation can be a tremendous challenge if your friend or loved one has hearing loss. One in six people in Ireland have some form of hearing loss and many will avoid social occasions or have difficulty at work because they struggle to follow conversations. This can lead to people becoming isolated and socially withdrawn.
Constantly translating, raising your voice and repeating yourself may seem helpful but in reality you can quickly become frustrated and may also prevent the person with the hearing loss from realising the extent of their hearing problem.
Below is a list of simple communication tips to avoid excluding or making life more difficult for those with hearing loss.
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start speaking.
- Places with good lighting (so that you can be lipread) and little or no background noise are best for conversations.
- Face the person so you can be lipread and speak clearly, using plain language, normal lip movements and facial expressions.
- Check whether the person understands what you are saying and, if not, try saying it in a different way.
- Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally.
- Avoid talking too rapidly or using sentences that are too complex.
- Keep your hands away from your face while talking.
- Keep your voice down as it’s uncomfortable for a hearing aid user if you shout and it looks aggressive.
We would encourage everyone to follow the above communication tips and help remove unnecessary barriers preventing people with hearing loss from joining in everyday fun conversations or important discussions. Also, if you are concerned about a loved one’s hearing loss encourage them to avail of a free hearing test from their local Hidden Hearing branch. Freephone 1800 370 000 or www.hiddenhearing.ie