Changing the way you think about communication is a first step in managing hearing loss.
Communication is a two way process involving the person with the hearing loss and communication partners. Both parties need strategies for effective communication; it helps to anticipate difficult situations and put a plan in place to minimise the impact.
Video: Communication is a two way process
Develop your communication strategy
Your communication strategy needs to be a practical guide you and people around you can consistently follow. Start with some tips and easy ways of remembering them.
For the person with hearing loss, think E.A.R.S.:
- Explore by asking more questions
- Affirm to show you are listening
- Reflect your understanding
- Specific feedback – tell others what helps you communicate.
For communication partners, think H.E.L.P.:
- speak with your Head up
- keep you Eyes on your partner’s face
- Learn to monitor speed of speech and slow down
- Pronounce words clearly
Use your resources
Effective hearing loss management is based on four common-sense guidelines you can implement straight away – how you can use hearing, your vision, technology and the role of others.
Use your hearing
Make use of your hearing as well as you can:
- listen carefully
- use amplification devices, such as hearing aids with a telecoil program
- position yourself near the speaker or the source of the sound
- if you have a better ear, make sure it is closer to the sound source
- choose quiet places whenever possible, to avoid or reduce background noise
- avoid areas with echo and reverberation.
Use your vision
To help compensate hearing loss:
- check your vision and use glasses as recommended
- watch the speaker carefully for facial expressions, gestures and body language
- ask speakers to face you
- use speech reading/lipreading
- use print and captions, where possible
- avoid glare and looking into the light
- have the light on the speaker’s face whenever possible.
- Use amplification devices such as hearing aids
- Consider a cochlear implant if it is recommended, when hearing aids become ineffective
- Use other technology for alerting you to the door bell, smoke alarm and/or telephone
- Try an amplified telephone, if it is necessary, for the incoming voice
- Try assistive devices to improve speech reception for the TV and radio
- Use the captions/text version on TV, DVDs, online videos and some cinema and theatre, as provided.
- Tell people about your hearing loss
- Ask people to speak clearly
- Encourage your communication partners to face you, speak up or speak more slowly
- Advise people to gain your attention first and face you when talking to you
- Ask questions when you have missed information
- Suggest someone rephrase information if it is difficult for you to understand.