How to Facilitate Positive Communication with your Loved Ones with Hearing Loss: A Guide

Communicating takes work and practice. Many factors such as noise, room acoustics, distance from the speaker, and most recently, masks, can hinder the flow of communication. This is especially true for individuals with hearing loss that have another hindrance to the ease of communication. But don’t worry. You as the communication partner can make a difference!

A communication breakdown is a failure to exchange information resulting in a lack of communication. This can occur anywhere both listening and communication is needed!

Difficulties can be attributed to:

  • Restaurants
  • TV
  • Phone
  • Music
  • Places of worship
  • Individuals with accents/dialects
  • Masks
  • Interruptions
  • Difficult room acoustics

We’re having a communication breakdown. Ask yourself:

Did I….

  1. Face my partner to provide them with visual cues?
  2. Communicate face-to-face (if allowed) at a good distance?
  3. Speak clear at a normal volume without over exaggerating?
  4. Speak slowly for my partner to fill in any gaps?
  5. Communicate in an ideal environment (i.e. eliminate the background noise as much as possible?)

PREPARE AHEAD

If you and your communication partner know you are going to be in a difficult listening environment, plan ahead. Provide your partner with some conversation topics prior to the situation. Be on the same page as your partner. Develop a reminder or “code” prior to the difficult listening situation which can serve as a reminder to you that your communication partner is missing the conversation and likely needs repetition, without verbally expressing it. i.e. a nose scratch from your communication partner

STAY POSITIVE

Your communication partner may ask for repetitions, which may be tiring or frustrating. Stay positive. Don’t stress. Did you follow the steps above? Try rephrasing or asking what specifically was missed throughout the conversation. Communication repairs require an open dialogue. Successful communication requires yourself and your communication partner to actively work to create a positive listening environment!

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