Strategies For Living Well With Hearing Loss

Living with hearing loss can be frustrating.  Both partners in a communicative exchange are responsible for communication breakdowns, not just the individual with hearing loss. There are six key strategies that can be implemented to improve communication and decrease communication breakdowns.

The steps toward more effective communication include:

1. Get attention first: Get a person’s attention before you begin speaking.  Simply tap the person on the shoulder so that you know you have their individualized attention and so they are ready to receive the incoming message.  This technique works well with someone who has hearing loss because it prepares them to listen carefully and pay attention.

2. Walk before you talk: You should be in the same room as the listener.  Decreasing the distance between the speaker and the listener allows for increased speech understanding as well as the ability to use visual cues. The use of visual cues helps individuals with hearing loss better understand what is being said.

3. Speak slowly: Decreasing your rate of speech when speaking with an individual with hearing loss can improve their comprehension and recall.

4. Give the topic: Tell the listener the topic of conversation before you begin speaking,  By doing so, you provide the listener with the ability to fill in the gaps when they miss out on what has been said.  The listener can use their knowledge on the topic of conversation to aid them in figuring out what is being said.

5.  Rephrase: When a listener misunderstands,  you should rephrase what was said instead of simply repeating the message. By switching the wording around and using different vocabulary you are providing the listener with a new opportunity to understand what was said.

6. Use keywords: Poor understanding may be confused with not hearing something.  When repeating something, use key words instead of a nonspecific.

-Lindsay

Marrone, N., Durkin, M.R.& Harris, F.P. (2012, December 18). Hearing Each Other Is a Two-Way Street: Simple Strategies Can Help People Live Well With Hearing Loss. The ASHA Leader

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