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There are communication strategies that both communication partners can use to aid in effective conversation despite hearing loss.
Hearing loss has a significant social impact on the person with hearing loss as well as their partners. Frustration and tension between hearing impaired people and their partners are closely related to the changes in communication between them.
Conversation and spoken interaction are determined by social and cultural rules. When a person says something to another person, some kind of response is expected within a certain time frame. This turn-taking behavior allows for conversations to run smoothly. Hearing loss, however, disturbs this smooth “give-and-take exchange”. Hearing loss is therefore not treated as an individual problem, it is always shared and shaped by the sound environment and social context.
Often people with hearing impairment recognise that they can hear but they cannot always understand. The aural rehabilitation process is therefore, not just about making sounds louder so they can hear it. Coping with hearing loss also means being able to pick out the relevant sounds from irrelevant noise. Managing noise extends beyond the fitting of the hearing aid, it is also about exploring different sound environments and discussing ways in which people with hearing loss and their conversation partners can cope in those environments.
Successful communication involves a combination of hearing, processing, understanding, interpreting facial features, gestures and speech. People living with hearing loss can experience communication difficulties. For someone with hearing loss, there’s often a breakdown between hearing and processing that can affect understanding and response.
Communication strategies are used to adjust the communication situation to suit individual needs. Successful use of communication strategies can result in a hearing-impaired person joining in and enjoying the conversation.
People develop tactics to suit their personality. Here are some to try.
There are communication strategies that both listener and speaker can use to aid in effective conversation despite hearing loss.
Here are some common scenarios and solutions that may help improve communications.
In the home.
Talk to each other face-to-face.
Ensure there is adequate lighting in the room. It helps to clearly see facial cues.
Reduce background noise.
Educate others about how to effectively communicate with you.
Creating a communication friendly environment in the home isn’t hard. Consider these suggestions:Hard surfaces amplify sound. Improve clarity of communications by reducing open spaces in the home and introducing soft furnishings such as curtains/blinds, carpet, wall hangings, couches and table cloths. These will help decrease echo and moderate sound.Rearrange lounges and dining chairs to suit your hearing needs.
Arrive early and sit in a seat closest to the presenter, in the front row, or in the middle of all speakers.
Request a copy of the agenda in advance to better prepare for the meeting.
Avoid being in the middle of the room; rather choose a quiet corner to talk.
Avoid being too close to the kitchen or music source.
At the cinema or theatre.
Arrive early and choose a seat best suited for your vision and hearing.
Ask if the cinema/theatre has a hearing loop. It can be used with your hearing aid’s telecoil setting if your hearing aid has one.
Be prepared to miss some of the dialogue.
Every hearing-impaired client has their own story. We carefully listen to your story and only once we fully understand your circumstances, do we then proceed with developing a hearing solution tailored to suit your lifestyle, budget and environment.
We pride ourselves on empowering and supporting our patients to achieve their goals and dreams by providing customised hearing solutions.