At Hearing Healthcare Centre, we actively encourage people who attend one of our hearing tests, to bring a family member or friend along for support. There are a number of reasons for this, not least because hearing loss is a very subjective condition, and can often cause an element of frustration. Family and friends, no matter how empathetic, often find it difficult to truly understand what it feels like to have a hearing loss, and register the difficulties a hearing impaired person experiences.
We’ve drafted a few Top Tips to help if you have a hearing impaired friend or family member.
- When speaking to somebody with a hearing impairment, make sure you face the person directly (so they can see your lips), in good light and enunciate clearly
- Think about each word you are saying, but do not shout as this can be uncomfortable for the listener
- Don’t exaggerate your lip movements, as this makes it difficult to lip read
- Introduce the subject matter, so the listener has some idea of what you are going to be talking about. If they do not catch what you are saying the first time, don’t simply repeat yourself, but slightly rephrase the sentence with different key words. This gives them more chance to pick up on the key words
- If you have elderly friends or family with hearing issues, help them by regularly checking that their hearing instruments are working properly, and that they are maintained and kept clean. Also ensure they have spare batteries
- If you are hosting a social event, and you have the space, try and keep one room as a quiet room. It is unreasonable to expect children to keep the volume down all the time, so a separate room with no TV or radio is an ideal refuge for someone with hearing issues
- Speak to your hearing impaired relative/friend about all the technological accessories available to assist hearing loss. Especially if they are older, they may not be aware of many of the products on the market. These include TV listening devices which make it easier to hear the television without having to adjust the volume for other people in the room. Also, mini microphones which can be placed in front of the audio source and stream the signal back to the hearing aid. This can be very effective when trying to identify speech in background noise such as a conversation in your favourite restaurant or café
- If dining at a restaurant or cafe, a hearing impaired person will always benefit from sitting with his/her back to the wall. If possible, try to select a table where there will be reduced noise emanating from behind you. This eliminates background noise, but also allows the target speech to bounce off a nearby surface