Improving Communication with Your Family

Improving Communication with Your Family

Do you have hearing loss? You may not even know it. This is because hearing loss can develop gradually over years affecting your communication in subtle ways. While you may not be aware, it’s common that your family members will. They may not diagnose it correctly as hearing loss, but they might recognize that you often mishear them. It’s all too common to misdiagnose hearing loss as your family members feeling that you aren’t paying attention to them or seem disinterested. If a hearing loss isn’t addressed this can start to build up into serious resentments. This means it is important to diagnose and treat a hearing loss as soon as possible for the benefit of your entire family.

Recognizing a Hearing Loss

A hearing loss can be elusive to diagnose. Here are some signs that you and your family members can look for to catch a hearing loss early:

  • You often have to ask people to repeat themselves
  • You engage in regular disagreements around the volume of the TV
  • Trouble understanding conversations when you are in a noisy place, such as a restaurant
  • Issues hearing over the phone

Strategies for Better Communication 

Once you recognize your hearing loss, the next step is to seek treatment. The most common and effective solution are hearing aids. These tiny digital devices can be programmed to amplify only the sounds you need to hear, improving communication with your family and everywhere else you go every day. However, even with hearing aids, there are some techniques you can teach your family members to make communication easier for you.

What your family should understand about your hearing loss

Hearing aids are amazing and can make a significant improvement in communication that the whole family will benefit from. However, they are not magic! You will not have supersonic hearing—many listening situations may still cause obstacles in communication, especially in noisy locations such as busy restaurants, a crowded mall or a party where many people are speaking at once. Talk to your family about how hearing aids improve your speech understanding, but also let them know how they can help you navigate some of their limitations.

Tips to teach your family members

There are many strategies that you can encourage from your family members for improved communication. When you are open and direct with your family about hearing loss and what they can do to support you, everyone will be more harmonious every day. Basic strategies for improved communication include the following: 

Get your attention before speaking: It can take more focus to listen even with hearing aids. Ask the people in your family to get your attention before speaking so you can be poised to listen. Ask them to say your name before speaking or tap your shoulder so you can be ready to listen.

Clear visuals: When you have hearing loss you may be more reliant on visual cues than you may realize. However, it is likely that you rely on facial expression, body language and lip reading. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of these non verbal communication styles. Make sure that the lighting is good so you can see and that the people in your family make eye contact when speaking. This means that you’ll have a greater advantage in everyday conversation.

Rephrase rather than repeat: If a person with hearing loss misunderstands, try rephrasing what you said instead of repeating. This can not only add more context to the previous statement but will require the speaker to pause and slow down.

Write down (or text) important details: It is essential information such as phone numbers, addresses and the spelling are written out since misunderstanding of this nature can create very serious mix-ups causing stress and wasting time.

If there is too much noise move to a quieter environment: Noisy environments continue to create frustrating situations for hearing aids users. If there is too much noise, try choosing a quieter area to talk. This can be as simple as moving to a new environment or such as a different restaurant or considering a hearing issue before making plans.

Scheduling a Hearing Exam

If you haven’t already tested your hearing, then it is time to address the reality of hearing loss. Don’t hesitate to schedule a hearing test with us today. Improved communication with your family lies on the other side.