Hearing loss is one of the leading disabilities in the U.S. Approximately one in eight people in this country over 12 years old has significant hearing loss in both ears. About 2% of these people are considered deaf or profoundly hearing impaired. While hearing loss makes communication difficult, it is not impossible. It is also the responsibility of friends and family of the hearing impaired to come up with strategies to make communication easier. Even if the person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids, it is essential for those around them to use good communication strategies.
Types of Hearing Loss
Conductive and sensorineural are the two main types of hearing loss. The conductive type of hearing loss is caused by malfunctions in the middle or outer ear. This type is caused by numerous factors, including damaged eardrums, excessive wax, or external ear damage. On the other hand, sensorineural hearing loss happens when the cells in the inner ear are damaged. Cells are damaged for numerous reasons, including aging, extended exposure to loud noise, and certain medications.
Effects of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can profoundly affect the personal and work life of the person impacted. People with hearing loss often feel isolated and avoid socializing with people they do not know. This reluctance to communicate with new people can lead to fewer social, educational, and professional opportunities. Here are a few of the general effects of hearing loss:
- Emotional problems due to social isolation
- Issues of self-esteem and confidence
- Social withdrawal
- Increased stress when interacting with new people
- Difficulties communicating in educational and professional settings
Hearing loss is often mitigated if effective tactics are put in place at a young age to make communication easier.
Successful communication with the hard of hearing requires effort from all people involved in the conversation. Try these strategies to facilitate better communication with the deaf or hard of hearing:
- Look the deaf or hard of hearing person in the eye, and face them directly. Be on the same level whenever possible. Position yourself so the other person can directly see your mouth and face.
- Avoid talking too fast or using language that is too complicated. Slow down your speech, simplify your language, and pause to see the other person’s reactions before continuing.
- Do not try to have a conversation from separate rooms. It is best to communicate face to face to have the best outcomes.
- Say the name of the other person before starting the conversation. This gives the other person a chance to focus on your words at the beginning of the conversation.
- Speak slowly and clearly, but try to sound as natural as possible. Avoid exaggerating your words as it can make speech more difficult to understand.
This is not a finite list of communication strategies. Experiment and find what works while communicating with your partner.
Get Help from HEAR Center
Do you have hearing loss, and you want to explore treatment options? Look no further than the HEAR Center. We provide hearing aids, audiology services, and speech and language pathology services.
Contact us today to learn more about our services or to make an appointment:
Call or text: (626) 734-6555
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chat us: https://direct.lc.chat/13342371/
Also, for more information about our Audiological Evaluations (hearing test) please visit our webpage: https://www.hearcenter.org/services/audiology/