How To Communicate With Hearing Loss
Better hearing requires more than just hearing aids. Hearing your best means having the right technology — fit specifically to your unique hearing needs — for the environments you find yourself in most often, and maximizing that technology with better communication strategies.
Anytime someone is fit with new technology, there will be an adjustment period. Regardless of whether the person you’re communicating with has an untreated hearing loss or is using hearing aids for the first time, the following communication tips can be used to enhance your conversations:
- Sit or stand 3 to 6 feet away to maximize audibility
- Stay at eye level to help with visual cues
- Make sure you have the person’s attention before speaking
- Use facial expressions and gestures to accentuate your message
- Raise your voice slightly
- Speak slowly and distinctly
- Use short, simple sentences
- Rephrase your words if the person is having a hard time understanding you
- To avoid distortion, don’t speak directly into a person’s ear
We can help with better communication techniques. Our practice regularly hosts open houses and hearing events in which patients, their family, and their friends are welcome to come by and discuss their unique communication issues at greater length.
We recommend booking an appointment for a comprehensive hearing consultation so that our hearing care providers can find out more about your specific type of hearing loss and lifestyle. Contact us to schedule a complete consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, many forms of hearing loss are permanent because there is no cure. Treatment methods that feature amplification fit to your specific hearing loss by hearing care professionals like hearing instrument practitioners and audiologists typically have the highest user satisfaction for improved hearing and improved quality of life.
Protecting your hearing from noise levels greater than 85 decibels at work and during leisurely activities will greatly reduce your chances of noise-induced hearing loss. Many manufacturing jobs require hearing protection in loud environments, but hearing protection is also recommended while ATV riding, hunting, attending concerts and sporting events, and playing music — all situations where your hearing is vulnerable.
See your physician immediately; sudden hearing loss is considered a medical emergency. Sudden hearing loss typically resolves on its own within two weeks, but it might not — meaning your hearing might be gone for good. Seeking medical assistance within 72 hours of the onset of sudden hearing loss greatly improves the chances that your hearing will recover.
Since hearing loss is cumulative, hearing loss begins as an infant and continues throughout life. Most individuals don’t begin to experience symptoms until their late 20s or early 30s, and by age 45 a yearly hearing check becomes of greater importance. One-third of people beyond the age of 65 have some degree of hearing loss, however mild or severe, and that share of the elderly population increases as they age.
Hearing loss is a puzzle that our professionals love to solve, and it is based on your individual experiences, lifestyle, and severity of impairment. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment method for hearing loss — it’s based on the sounds that you can’t hear, which vary greatly, and the sounds that you want to be able to hear. A quality hearing system from a reputable manufacturer isn’t effective until an experienced, qualified hearing care professional programs the technology properly based on your unique hearing needs.
Though it is difficult to say what genetic factors predispose individuals to hearing loss, there seems to be a connection. Some genetic disorders present at birth cause a hearing loss, but in the absence of a disease, hearing loss can still have a basis in your genetics.
Research has established a relationship between hearing loss and dementia. There is strong evidence that hearing loss accelerates brain-tissue atrophy, particularly in areas of the brain that auditory nerves would stimulate but can’t because they aren’t receiving a signal (due to a hearing loss). These areas of the brain are also related to memory and speech. Individuals with a mild hearing loss are three times as likely to fall down than those without, and the likelihood of falls increases as degree of hearing loss increases. Hearing loss has also been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sickle-cell anemia, and other circulatory conditions.