Do You Hear What I Hear
The holidays are upon us, a time of merriment, joy, and for many with hearing loss and their families' frustration. However, here are some simple tips to share with your loved ones.
- Make communication is a two-way street.
- When speaking with someone with hearing loss use CLEAR speech. Slightly raise your voice (don't yell), use a slower but natural rate (not exaggerated).
- If you have hearing loss, be an active listener. Concentrate on the speaker (focus on his or her mouth not eyes), summarize the other speaker's comments, ask specific questions, and find out the topic of conversation at the start (context goes a long way).
- Don't hide your hearing loss. You don't need to wear a sign around your neck, but don't nonchalantly laugh off something you didn't hear.
- Ask people to speak clearly, face you, and again, ask about the topic of conversation as you enter into the dialogue.
- Repeat and rephrase. If something is missed request clarification, don't just say "huh."
- Try restating what you heard and/or request the person rephrase.
- Be environmental mental.
- Try to identify the best location to talk (better lighting, lower noise).
- Put noise to your back particularly when wearing hearing aids.
- Consider guest seating/positioning based on conversational needs (in other words don't put that person's best friend at the other end of the table).
- If going out, identify a restaurant with least background noise or consider timing (don't eat at a peak times).
- Be a good wingman (woman). It is often helpful to have a friend, relative, or spouse to help.
- Have patience. It is the holidays, remember what is important and try not to get frustrated, this applies to the person with hearing loss and family.
- Consider first if you are being the most effective communicator and what you can do to ease the situation.
- Take a break and time for a little eggnog .
- Listening with hearing loss can be fatiguing, take some time to yourself or retire to a more quiet area in the house with a friend or two for some light conversation.
- If you have hearing aids that need repair, programming change, etc., don't wait until December 22. Make an appointment before the holidays.
- Don't forget a spare set of batteries— if you have hearing aids.
- Turn your smartphone into a pocket talker, ear machine is a free app used with earbuds that was developed by hearing scientist with funding from the NIH-NIDCD. You will need your earbuds.
- Example of Communication Strategies and Corrections:
- Clark: I think that since this is aunt Bethany's 80th Christmas, she should lead us in the saying of grace.
- Bethany: What dear? (Asking for repeat and owning hearing loss)
- Grandma Griswold: GRACE!! (Grandma Griswold rephrased)
- Bethany: Grace! She passed away 30 years ago. (Attempt at restating, but swing and miss)
- Louis: They want you to say grace! THE BLESSING!! (Wingman, sitting next to Bethany helps using clear speech and rephrases request)
- Bethany: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America (perfect)
Review this related interesting video.
Professor John Culling and Dr. Jacques Grange from Cardiff University School of Psychology explain how we use two ears to localise sound whilst exploring Cardiff’s Christmas soundscape.