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HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WITH HEARING LOSS
If you know someone with hearing loss -

A)  PROVIDING HELP

The first thing to do is to gather lots of information. The more you understand about what your friend or family member is experiencing, the more help and advice you can offer.  Bearing in mind that your friend or relative might resist the idea of testing and treatment, you must try to be helpful and supportive without being forceful or condescending.

B)  IMPROVING COMMUNICATION

When someone you know has a hearing loss, communicating can be challenging. Developing a few good communication habits will make conversation easier for the hard of hearing person.

- Talk face to face

  • Face the person you are talking to. Don't try to converse from a different room or with your back turned. It is easier to hear what people say when you can see what they are saying. Visual clues like facial expressions and lip movements do a lot to help listeners understand your words           

  • Stand where your face is well lit. This makes it easier to see your facial expressions and read your lips           

  • Try not to talk while chewing or smoking - it makes it harder to understand what you are saying, and almost impossible for others to read your lips           

If you talk while reading the newspaper, or lean your cheek on your hand while talking this will also make lip-reading difficult for others

- Speak at a natural pace

  • You don't need to shout. Speaking at a normal conversational level when talking with someone who wears a hearing aid is perfectly ok. Most instruments are programmed to amplify a normal level of speech, so if you shout, it may be too loud or even painful for the listener          

  • Try not to talk too fast. Speak naturally, but try to pronounce your words more clearly. This will naturally slow your speech, but be careful not to overdo it          

  • If you are having trouble being understood, try re-phrasing your sentence rather than just repeating yourself. Some words are more easily heard or lip-read than others          

When you are in a group, take turns at talking and try not to interrupt each other. If the conversation changes suddenly, try to inform the person with the hearing loss: when they know what the subject is, it is easier to understand what is being said

- Try to reduce background noise

For someone who is hard-of-hearing, the most difficult listening environment is background noise. Voices are difficult to hear because they are in competition with all the other noise, so:

  • Try to eliminate background noise when holding a conversation. Turn off the television and close any open windows to reduce any noise from traffic            

  • Move closer to your listener so your voice is louder than the background noise. This will also make your face and lips easier to read
     

 

 
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