Help a loved one with hearing loss

By: Anusha Kharram

Hearing loss can cause frustration for the individual experiencing it and those around them. It is essential to build empathy and increase patience when helping a loved one with hearing impairment. While it can be a complicated process for both them and you, it is necessary to be understanding.

There are many ways to help a loved one with hearing loss issues. It is crucial that you try to have empathy while educating yourself. By learning what hearing loss entails, you are better able to understand their point of view and their struggles. Hearing loss may impact us all to some degree in our lifetime. Knowing how to be mindful and openly communicate with people with hearing impairments is essential.

How to Support a Hearing Impaired Loved One

1. Face the person when you are talking

Looking at the person you are talking to can help make it clear that you are talking to them. Those with hearing loss may not be able to hear clearly if you call out something from another room or are looking in another direction while talking to them. Additionally, looking at the person while talking will allow them to lip movements for additional context.

2. Don’t shout

There is never any need to yell or shout at someone. It doesn’t make words easier to understand; it just distorts them. It can also come across as rude, or they may think you are angry with them.

3. Speak clearly and naturally

Enunciation can help make things clearer for individuals, and speaking at an average pace also helps. At the same time, speaking too slow can come across as patronizing. Thus, it is crucial to keep a regular pace to avoid miscommunication from speaking too slow or too fast.

4. Rephrase what you said if they did not get it the first time

If the person listening did not catch what you said, it would be a good idea to rephrase the word or sentence instead of raising your voice or giving up. This is important for communication because even if they did not hear something the first time, finding another way to word it can create a safe space for open communication and inclusion.

5. Find ways to communicate non-verbally

People with hearing loss or some type of hearing impairment benefit from different modes of communication other than talking. In some cases, sign language works well for communication. It uses facial expressions and gestures to help convey their thoughts. Additionally, texting and emailing have become more prominent in the time we live in. Texting is another good way to communicate with someone hard-of-hearing because it does not require them to be able to hear the words, but they can still be included in the conversation.

The most important thing to help a loved one with hearing loss is to have a sense of understanding about their experience and to focus on inclusion. Isolation can be dangerous for anyone – we all want to be included. Especially when it comes to communication barriers, inclusivity can be difficult. Therefore, it is essential to learn ways to keep an open line of communication with your hearing impaired loved ones.