Two women with hearing loss smiling at each other

Tips for Communicating if You Have Hearing Loss       

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

Because of your hearing loss, if you’re like most of us, you’ve experienced annoyance or misinterpretation during conversations. 

It doesn’t have to be this way while communicating with a hearing loss. Both you and your communication partner can use a variety of basic tactics to make communication easier, less stressful, and more pleasurable. Why not give any of these methods a try? They’re simple and can be adopted right now with a little deliberate effort.

Disclose your hearing loss

When it comes to successful communication with hearing loss, hiding your hearing loss, as tempting as it may seem, is the very worst error you can make. 

Nobody can read your mind. Your conversation partner will believe you understand if you smile and pretend to hear what they’re saying. This is when irritation and miscommunication may quickly creep in – especially if it’s your turn to talk and you’re stumped! 

It’s critical to remember that individuals expect you to understand what they’re saying unless you say otherwise. You might be surprised by how ready people are to make concessions if you are honest and upfront about your hearing loss and needs.

Get into the right environment

To avoid distracting background noise, request that your communication partner speaks in a quieter location. It’s also crucial to put oneself squarely in front of the person you’re talking to. In this posture, your ears have the best chance of picking up noises right in front of you, and you’ll have the best chance of reading your partner’s facial expression and body language. Listening and speaking can be made more fluid and stress-free by changing your location and position.

Rephrase what they say

When we don’t understand what someone has said or become lost in a conversation, many of us have probably developed the habit of replying “huh” or “what.” This may give the impression that you are uninterested in what your communication partner is saying, and they will be less likely to repeat their assertion. 

Instead of saying “hmm,” try asking for more precise information. For example, if your friend has just told you they’ve started a new job, you could say something like, “So you have a new job! Where is the office?” 

Repeating the bits of the conversation that you did hear will show your communication partner that you are genuinely interested in what they’re saying and are paying attention. People are a lot more patient and inclined to take the time to assist you to grasp and hear what they are telling you when you ask for clarification in this manner.

Interrupt them to stay on track

It is sometimes OK to interrupt a conversation. It is critical to notify your communication partners as soon as you become lost in a conversation. This gives them time to clarify and keeps the subject from drifting away from you. If you wait too long, you can miss where the conversation has gone, which could lead to some awkward circumstances in the future! 

Another situation where interrupting is appropriate is when you don’t hear an important announcement in a crowded environment. Consider the following scenario: you’re in a busy train station, and an announcement is made that you didn’t hear. Then suppose that everyone starts grabbing their belongings and walking somewhere else all of a sudden. Of course, interrupting a nearby conversation or a gate worker seeking clarification on the announcement is acceptable, so you don’t miss your train.

Get your hearing checked regularly

Of course, these aren’t the only suggestions for improving hearing loss communication. Tips and techniques are fantastic, but they can’t replace the technological advancements in today’s hearing aids. 

It’s time to test your hearing if you’ve observed any of the indications of hearing loss, such as conversations becoming more annoying and harder to comprehend. Hearing aids nowadays are small, sophisticated, and loaded with technology designed to make your life as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

If you have to get your hearing treated, the best time to do it was yesterday, but today is the second-best time to do so! Contact us today to set up a hearing test.