Adapted communication strategies must be used to facilitate communication with the hard of hearing individuals
ODYO’s advice for the hard hearing individuals:
- The definitive first step to ensure effective communication should be to let others know about your hearing loss. It helps to ask group members to speak to you one person at a time
- Favorable positioning in the classroom or at the restaurant will facilitate communication. Siting closer to the speaker in a lighted area will help offer the ideal listening conditions
- Talk face to face while communicating. Everyone has some ability to speech-read, use it. Do not attempt to communicate from another room or when you cannot see the speaker
- Don’t bluff your way through a conversation. It helps to inquire about the topic of conversation
- Ask people to speak slowly and clearly, speaking loudly does not always help
- Let the speaker know when you don’t understand the message. You can repeat the part of the message that you understood and ask the speaker to repeat or reformulate the phrase causing difficulties
- Eliminate background noise or avoid it as much as possible. Taking the conversation in a quieter room or switching off the television and radio will facilitate communication
- Plan ahead for those difficult listening situations
- Before attending group gatherings, select a person you will most probably spend the most time conversing with and sit beside him
- Bring a notepad and a pencil for the misunderstood words
- Many public places such as churches, theatres and cinemas are equipped with communication devices adapted to the needs of the hard of hearing. Call the venue in advance to organize for any preparations. In Quebec, the ‘Association des Devenus Sourds et Malenetendants du Québec’ (ADSMQ) has put together a directory for theater halls equipped with a listening device. It can be obtained on the ADMSQ online store
ODYO’S ADVICE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS AND ENTOURAGE OF THE HARD OF HEARING INDIVIDUALS
- Gently draw the attention of the hard of hearing person before speaking to him. This will ensure that the individual is giving you the necessary attention in order to avoid any misunderstandings
- Choose a quiet place before starting an important conversation. Background noise must be eliminated or avoided as much as possible.
- Place yourself facing the hard of hearing person or right next to him for optimal communication
- Talk slowly and clearly avoiding any exaggerated pronunciation. Shouting does not help as it is a general misconception that does not improve communication with the hard of hearing
- Avoid hiding your lips, lowering or turning your head since many hard of hearing individuals use lip reading to complete any missed cues
- Use simple and short sentences and reformulate misunderstood phrases
- Write down key words on a notepad if this can prove to be useful
If these strategies don’t work for you, maybe you have a significant hearing loss. Take a hearing test now.
Note that a lot of assistive listening devices are available on the market to help you hear better.
Hany Ghonaim, audiologist
Hany is an audiologist that specializes in tinnitus, hearing loss for adults and vertigo. He has been serving ODYO’s clients for the past 5 years in the greater montreal area.