Hearing loss can make it tough to engage in conversations. Impacting nearly 1 in 5 people, you are not alone in experiencing the challenges that hearing loss can produce. Fortuenaly, there are effective ways you can navigate communication with ease. Practicing the following tips can support your hearing needs and smooth conversations:
- Maximize use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are essential devices for millions of people with hearing loss. These innovative pieces of technology provide ample hearing support in everyday environments. In addition to wearing your hearing aids during waking hours, you can get the most from your hearing aids by exploring the many features today’s devices offer. This includes digital noise reduction, wireless connectivity, tinnitus management, and voice recognition capabilities. These features are designed to deliver sharper sound quality and making hearing seamless. Be sure to discuss these features with your hearing healthcare provider who can help you navigate your options.
- Take advantage of technology. In addition to hearing aids, there are additional technologies you can maximize to support your hearing and communication needs. This includes hearing loops which are a type of assistive listening device that are often in public spaces. Hearing aids connect to hearing loops which allows them to stream audio directly, this audio can then be adjusted in specific ways to meet your hearing needs. This makes it easier to listen in these environments and to navigate communication. Additionally, there is a range of hearing aid accessories that are also designed to support hearing and communication.
- Share communication strategies. There are numerous communication strategies that can support your hearing needs during conversations. Examples include:
- Having others grab your attention before starting a conversation.
- Facing the speaker so they are completely visible to you.
- Asking others to rephrase rather than repeat if you haven’t heard something.
- Reducing background noise as much as possible so that you can hear more easily.
- Having people email or text you detailed information.
Be sure to share these strategies with others so that they can participate in engaging in
- Be intentional about seating. This may be easy to overlook, but where you sit is important. You want to avoid sitting next to loud sources of noise – speakers, windows, kitchen, fans etc. If you are at a dinner table, sitting in the middle is likely the best position because it allows you to see everyone’s faces. Thinking about seating, especially in public settings like restaurants is especially useful because these environments tend to be harder to hear in.
- Know what to avoid. It is also useful to know what to avoid so that you can better support your hearing needs. This includes multitasking which is common to do during conversations. Whether it is cooking, cleaning, running errands; it is common to multitask but this can be distracting. These activities can produce noise, making it harder to hear and it can also be distracting. It is also useful to avoid noisy settings, especially during peak hours.
- Plan ahead. Another useful tip is to plan ahead for your hearing and communication needs. Be sure to carry extra batteries with you, identify a “listening buddy” who you can ask to clarify things if you’re at a social event, if you are going to dinner – be sure to be specific when making reservations (about not seating in noisy areas) etc.
- Test hearing regularly. It is important to have your hearing assessed regularly. Hearing needs can change over time so getting your hearing evaluated consistently allows you to address any changes you may experience over time. It also ensures that your hearing aids are still optimally meeting your hearing needs.
- Advocate for your hearing needs. Lastly, we encourage you to always advocate for your hearing needs. This looks like asking for clarification when needed, sharing communication strategies with others, moving seats etc. Avoid pretending to hear and struggling through a conversation and remember that others are also responsible for effective communication!
Practicing these strategies can help you navigate everyday conversations and social interactions with greater ease and comfort. Contact us today to learn more about the resources and technologies available to support your hearing health and communication on a daily basis.