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How to Be Supportive to Someone with Hearing Loss

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While hearing loss is not uncommon, it is something that takes a huge toll on someone’s life. With over 35 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, it’s becoming more and more important to learn how to support these members of our communities.

 

For an individual experiencing hearing loss, it can bring on a wide range of emotions that are hard to juggle on top of already struggling in everyday tasks such as hearing the radio or fully understanding a conversation without asking someone to speak louder.

 

Hearing Loss Can Cause a Range of Emotions

For most of us, we tend to only think of older generations when we think about people experiencing hearing loss. However, people of all ages can experience hearing loss which means that people of all ages are struggling emotionally with this. For example, a child growing up with hearing aids may feel isolated because they have a special tool to help them hear that none of their classmates have. An older adult may start to feel depressed or anxious as they start to isolate themselves from social interactions as they become too taxing on their emotions.

 

The question then lays in how we can best support our neighbors, friends, and family who are experiencing hearing loss.

 

Here are some ways that we can lend a hand of support:

 

Get Your Own Hearing Checked

If a friend or family member has been told that they need to go see a hearing specialist, show support by not only going with them but also scheduling yourself a hearing test. Doing this together will show that they don’t need to feel isolated and you yourself will be able to get the exam you need to know where you’re at as well.

 

Practice Great Communication Skills

One way that we can ensure that we’re showing support to our friends and family with hearing loss is to be intentional about how we are communicating with them. While we understand that communicating with someone with hearing loss can be more of a challenge than to someone without, the benefits of this lay in knowing that you are giving each other the full attention you both deserve in the conversation. Here are some tips for better communication skills when talking to someone with hearing loss.

 

  • Keep eye contact. This one may seem obvious but it makes a huge difference. This one guarantees that you’ll be facing them. By facing the person you’re talking to, they’ll be able to watch the way you’re moving your mouth and can piece together the motions with what they’re able to hear in order to better understand what you’re saying.

  • Keep your mouth uncovered. This one goes along with keeping eye contact. If they’re unable to see how your mouth is moving, it makes it harder to decode the sounds they’re unable to hear. Likewise, covering your mouth can add unnecessary muffle to the words you’re trying to communicate.

  • Rephrase, don’t repeat. If someone has asked you to repeat something they were unable to hear, try rephrasing it rather than repeating it. It’s likely that they’re unable to hear the sounds of the words you’re trying to say and attempting at a different way of communicating it can lead to better success of getting your point across.

  • Choose the best location possible. Conversing in a well lit and low background noise area leaves you with better chances of the other person understanding you than otherwise. If the lighting is too low they may not be able to read your lips and if there is too much background noise it may interfere with being able to hear anything you’re saying.

  • Stay positive and keep a sense of humor. It can be frustrating for both people when the conversation is unable to be understood. In order to not discourage the person trying to hear you and converse back, be the positive and humorous bit of encouragement that they need to know they’re still important and that they will get through this.

 

Listen and Understand

Just as when people lose any other part of their life, losing your hearing often comes with a grieving process. Sometimes the best way to support someone is to just listen and be there. Choosing to listen to their pains and struggles will help them feel less alone and know that they have someone there to help guide them through this new reality of life. Understanding the grieving process will help you to understand the mood shifts that can occur with your friend or family member experiencing hearing loss. These mood shifts can include anger, sadness, fear, denial, guilt, loneliness, and confusion. By understanding that these are a part of the process you can better let your friend or family member talk it out to you and be the person they’re needing in that moment.

 

Become an Advocate

One of the best ways you can show support to someone with hearing loss is to be their advocate. For example going to loud places such as restaurants or home dinner parties can be difficult for people with hearing loss. Choosing to be that person’s advocate would look like sitting next to them and filling them in on the punchline they may have missed or information they didn’t pick up on in the conversation. This goes miles with people as they know that there’s someone there to help them be a part of the conversation instead of feeling isolated and unable to understand in a group of people having fun.

 

Hearing loss is something that many people around us are experiencing. Let’s choose to support them in the best way possible. If you or a loved one are looking for the right place to schedule a hearing exam, we encourage you to visit Texan Renew Hearing Center. We want to take you by the hand and find the perfect treatment plan for you.