Navigating Friendships with Hearing Loss

Navigating Friendships with Hearing Loss

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

Today, let’s dive deep into something that tugs at the strings of our friendships – supporting our friends who have hearing loss. It’s all about approaching your loved ones with understanding and warmth.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Hearing loss impacts millions of people worldwide. It can have a number of causes, including aging, genetics, injury, or simply the aftermath of too many nights of loud concerns. So, how can we be the best friends possible to those dealing with hearing loss?


Imagine this: you’re catching up with your friend who’s navigating the hearing loss journey. Make it a face-to-face thing whenever you can. This way, they catch those visual cues, lip-read a bit, and use all those facial expressions that make a conversation complete. Oh, and keep that eye contact game strong – it makes a world of difference.

Get Your Position Right

Here’s a little secret – your position during a conversation matters. Face your friend, keep a comfortable distance, and let the conversation unfold. It helps them pick up on visual and sound cues, making the talk smoother for everyone.

Patience, My Friend

Now, patience is a superhero move here. Be ready to repeat stuff, switch up your wording if needed, and resist the urge to cut them off mid-sentence. Give your friend the time they need to catch up, and you’ll both enjoy the chat a lot more.

Words on Paper

When things get a bit tricky, turn to the written word. Drop a text, send an email, or scribble a note. It’s a great way to make sure your friend catches every bit of the conversation.

Learn About Hearing Loss

Take a little time to learn more about hearing loss and what your friend might be going through. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to help them during conversations.

Suggest Professional Help

Now, here’s the real talk – nudging your friend toward professional help is a game-changer. Suggest they visit a hearing health specialist. You can even offer to go with them. Hearing health professionals can suggest personalized solutions, like hearing aids, to boost hearing and improve your friend’s quality of life.

Show Emotional Support

Dealing with hearing loss isn’t just a physical challenge. It can be an emotional rollercoaster too. Be there for your friend. Listen, understand, and let them know you’re not just there for the practical stuff but can also be an emotional support.

Adapt to Technological Support

In our tech-savvy world, there are tools that can enhance communication for individuals with hearing loss. Hearing aids, for instance, come in various types and styles, and they can be customized to suit different needs. Encourage your friend to explore the world of hearing aids to improve their hearing and enjoy clearer, crisper sound.

Embrace Inclusive Activities

Plan activities that are inclusive and considerate of your friend’s hearing needs. Whether it’s a movie night with subtitles, a board game evening, or a cozy dinner where the environment is conducive to conversation, adapting your plans shows your friend that their comfort matters to you.

Create a Safe Space for Communication

Open communication is the backbone of any strong friendship. Create a safe space for your friend to express their needs and concerns regarding their hearing loss. Encourage them to share their experiences, frustrations, and triumphs. Your willingness to listen and understand fosters a deeper connection and builds a foundation of trust.

Encourage Joining Hearing Loss Communities

Feeling a sense of belonging can be incredibly empowering. Suggest that your friend explore local or online communities for individuals with hearing loss. Connecting with others who share similar experiences provides emotional support and a platform to exchange valuable tips and insights.

Book a Hearing Test

If you have a friend with hearing loss, there are many ways you can show your support. These tips aren’t just about communication; they’re about building a space where your friend feels seen and heard. Expanding your knowledge, embracing technology, and creating an inclusive environment are powerful steps. Ready to suggest a visit to a hearing health specialist? Encourage your friend to book a hearing test and get the support they need. You can even book a hearing test for yourself and find out more about your own hearing.