Living with a relative or partner who is hard of hearing can pose several challenges. While you’ll want to do your best to understand your partner and vice versa, it’s not always feasible to do so without the proper tools or support.
There will be an adjustment period where both of you will need to get used to each other’s rhythms and daily habits, and it is best to be patient with this learning curve as it will affect your communication style. If you’re wondering how to adjust to this change while maintaining a level of sensitivity to your partner’s needs, then the following article should give you a few helpful pointers.
Modify Your Body Language
One of the first things you need to do is learn to change your communication style, which entails modifying your body language. Since your companion cannot understand you if you are not within their eye level, you will need to make sure that you face them directly so that they can see what you are trying to say clearly. Try to avoid talking or shouting from another room; it’s not a helpful tactic for someone suffering from hearing loss. You should be able to see each other talk so that the hearing impaired individual can understand what you are saying. It’s also important to get used to speaking in clear, succinct sentences, and enunciate each word slowly and distinctly. Shouting can make what you are trying to say far more difficult to understand when someone has trouble hearing.
Invest in the Proper Technology
Having to wear a hearing aid all day, regardless of the model, can be tiring and irritating for your companion. They may want to take it out from time to time and rely on lipreading if you need to speak with them, but what if they want to watch TV or listen to music without wearing their hearing aid? Investing in amplifiers or other types of intuitive sound technology available on the market makes this possible. Wireless speakers with dialogue clarifying technology will come in especially handy, as they provide crystal-clear sound without you having to blare the volume or strain to hear. The experts at SereneInnovations.com can tell you the incredible value these devices offer to homes in which both people with “normal hearing” and poor hearing have to coincide. If you don’t want to have to hear the television going on at full blast, or if your companion does not want to have to wear their hearing instrument all day, then these tools offer a good middle ground.
These technologies allow you to be mindful of one another’s capacities without compromising your quality of life. While being hard of hearing – and also living with someone hard of hearing – can present a difficult transition for both parties, it can also be handled smoothly with the right tools.
Rely on Facial Gestures
Building on the idea of learning to modify your body language, you should try to rely on using facial gestures, as well as your hands in a more exaggerated manner to help communicate certain ideas or feelings. If your companion is adept at lipreading, then they will be able to glean more information from your face and any movements you make.
But, try not to be too showy and maintain a natural posture as you do this. This can help provide useful signifiers without being incredibly distracting, which is very important. Sometimes, people make the mistake of talking much louder around people with a hearing problem, but this can make things much worse. What is often neglected is the fact that shouting can sound like terrible distortion in the ears of those who use hearing aids – so, not only will the individual be completely unable to fully understand you; you may even be hurting them. Try to facilitate their ability to understand what you’re saying through lip reading instead.
There are many misconceptions about living with people who are hard of hearing. Whether the individual is born deaf, suffered a hearing disability due to an injury or accident, or gradually lost their ability to hear over time, these perceptions are damaging and can negatively impact their quality of life. The best way to be considerate of someone with poor hearing is to learn to adjust your mannerisms and be attentive to their needs. Remember, shouting will not make it easier for them to understand you. Over time, you will both find plenty of common ground and, with the right tools, communication will become much easier.