Audiology Communication Tips
Hearing aids are programmed especially for the individual persons hearing loss and are designed to help speech and environmental sounds to be heard better. However even with hearing aids in place sometimes some additional cues are needed to help understand better in difficulty listening environments (busy shop, restaurant etc.)
Here are some tips to help communicate better.
Tips for the hearing aid wearer:
- Be open with people about your hearing loss.
- Ask people to speak clearly and naturally. Shouting can cause distortion to lip patterns.
- Ask people to get your attention before they speak to you.
- If you don’t understand the first time, try to keep calm and don’t panic. Ask the speaker to repeat, speak more slowly or to sat it in a different way.
- If your hearing is not the same in both ears, try turning your better ear to the speaker.
- Try to keep background noise to a minimum. E.g. turn off TV or radio when you want to communicate.
- If you don’t already lip read, consider joining a course to learn.
- You may need to concentrate harder when listening so you may feel more tired at the end of the day. In more difficult listening situations wireless communication solutions like a RemoteMic or roger accessories can be very useful.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. No body hears correctly all of the time.
Tips for the communication partner:
- Position yourself so that the listener can see your face and lips – visual cues are vital for understanding with hearing aids.
- Reduce the distance between you and the listener especially in background noise.
- Attract the listener’s attention by calling their name, making sure they see you or tapping them lightly on the shoulder.
- Speak clearly and naturally. It is not necessary to shout, this will cause sound distortion and discomfort to the wearer. Maintain a normal tone of voice, speak clearly and more slowly.
- Taking the surroundings into account. Don’t try to converse from one room to another or in rooms with distracting noises e.g. washing machine, vacuum. This is likely to lead to mutual frustration.
- Understand that using hearing aids can be tiring. When talking with a new hearing aid user be aware of signs of fatigue. Don’t force or prolong conversations if the listener is tired.
- Be patient. Respect the pace of recovery and encourage the person with hearing loss when progress is made. Be a good listener and help the person to achieve the big goal of participating in the life again through better hearing.
At times your hearing aids alone may not be enough to overcome loud background noise, hearing in lectures, meetings at work or at family parties. There are accessories that enhance the performance of your hearing aids in these difficult listening situations.
You can view our range of accessories on our Phonak Hearing Aid accessories page.