The hearing loss of a friend or family member can be a non-issue if you establish guidelines to help you communicate more openly. These guidelines can include:
Learning About Their Specific Type of Hearing Loss
Not all forms of hearing loss are the same. Some forms of hearing loss are present at birth, others occur during old age. Hearing loss can also come from different sources, including noise, drugs and head trauma.
Knowing what kind of hearing loss your loved one has can allow you to understand how their lives are affected by the condition and what precautions to take. People with conductive hearing loss can find it especially difficult to hear faint noises, so speaking loudly and clearly would best complement their condition. Individuals with Meniere’s Disease can be increasingly susceptible to loud noises, so be sure to avoid places with excessive volume levels.
Removing the Hearing Aid Stigma
People may often feel self-conscious about their hearing loss, and this may discourage them from wearing their hearing aids. Neglecting to use hearing aids can actually cause further damage to their hearing in the long run.
Be sure to be accepting of your loved one’s hearing aids and encourage them to practice any activities that can help their communication skills, including auditory training, auditory-verbal therapy and audiogames.
Providing a Suitable Environment
Your daily activities can have a surprising effect on the hearing health of people around you. People that experience second hand smoke on a normal basis are predisposed to developing hearing loss, so be sure not to smoke indoors.
For children with hearing loss, make sure that they have access to hearing-friendly toys. You can determine which toys work for your child by holding them to your ear, holding them at arm’s length and seeing if you can speak at a normal volume when a toy is in use.
Planning Outings to Hearing-Friendly Destinations
There are many locations that classify themselves as hearing-friendly. Rita’s On The River, a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, has recently provided accommodations for people with hearing loss, including service iPads equipped with a hearing app and virtual interpreter.
Theme parks like Walt Disney World offer guest services such as video captioning and system amplifiers. For vacation spots, cruise ships like Holland American and Royal Caribbean Quantum also offer services for hearing-impaired individuals.
Encouraging Outgoing Behavior
As previous studies have shown, hearing loss can actually lead to a loss of extraversion in some individuals. Be sure to include your friend or family member in social activities. You’ll find that communication will be much more open if they feel comfortable enough to ask you to repeat words or sentences.
The more conscious you are of your loved one’s hearing loss and how it impacts his or her life, the easier it will be to establish a good network of communication.