Having difficulty with your hearing is not uncommon, but there are some hearing loss solutions you can implement yourself! People communicate daily to share feelings, needs, and information. Without understandable communication, you may begin to withdraw socially and emotionally.
You may feel embarrassed, frustrated, and isolated from the world. Small changes in the way you hold a conversation can change your everyday experience from poor to wonderful! If you are willing to be more open about your difficulty, you’ll be amazed at the positive change in your hearing life.
We’ve all done it. Hearing impaired or not, we have all been guilty of smiling and nodding when we did not really understand what was said. John says to you, “Did you see the Packers on Sunday? That game was crazy!” You hear, “Something something Packers something day. Something crazy!” What is he talking about? The football team? Meat packers? Are they moving?
Smiling and nodding will not only leave you still clueless, but you never know what question you may be answering. You might have just agreed to drive the carpool next week and not know it! What do you do?
You may simply just ask for repetition, but be specific. Let the other person in the conversation know that you were listening. Instead of, “Could you repeat that?” say “What was that about the Packers?” This allows you to confirm what you did hear, and makes your partner feel that they aren’t being ignored.
If you didn’t catch any of the conversation be open about it. Try asking your conversation partner(s) to repeat or rephrase. Having the person you are speaking with rephrase their statement can give you greater clues as to the topic of conversation, leading to better understanding.
With those you regularly communicate with, remind them to use natural, clear speech. Many people, including those with hearing impairment, are guilty of speaking very slowly and very loudly to people with hearing loss. While they have good intentions, this change may distort the sound of their words and changes the natural mouth movements that could be used for visual cues.
Remember to use those visual cues. Communicating isn’t just about speaking. People speak with facial and body expression. Look at the whole person when having a conversation. Use your best judgment. Consider natural reactions. For example, it isn’t likely that someone telling you bad news would be jumping up and down while smiling.
While your hearing loss can complicate conversation, don’t allow it to limit your participation in everyday activities. Try a few of those techniques above, and create some of your own. Never pretend to understand when you do not.
Others want you to understand just as much as you do! Try these hearing loss solutions and pursue those activities you enjoy!
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