For those with untreated hearing loss, socializing is a challenge. Struggling to keep up with conversations and only hearing a portion of what is being said is exhausting. Eventually, this can cause social withdrawal, isolation, and even depression.
As a host, you want your guests to have a good time. Hearing impaired family or friends may not want to acknowledge their difficulties or “make a fuss.” How can you help make their stay a pleasant one?
Here are a list of ways to ensure that your hearing impaired guests stay involved in the conversation.
TIPS FOR IMPROVED COMMUNICATION
- Speak Clearly – Distractions like chewing gum, holding your hand in front of your mouth, or speaking too softly make it difficult for a hearing impaired person to hear what you’re saying. By enunciating your words at a normal volume, you’ll ensure an improved hearing experience.
- Keep the Lights On – A well-lit room without glare makes it easier for those with hearing loss to clearly see other’s facial expressions and mouths while they’re speaking.
- Stand or Sit Close – A person with hearing loss will likely have more trouble hearing you the further away you are. The closer you are, the better the other person is able to see your facial expressions and mouth while talking.
- Keep the Volume Low – Background sounds like the TV or music playing add noise distortion. This further challenges a hearing impaired individual’s ability to hear conversation. Turning down (or turning off) the TV helps make things clearer.
- Don’t Turn Around – Facing your conversation partner allows them the opportunity to see your facial expressions and mouth while speaking. It also helps them to hear you better.
Rephrase – Instead of merely repeating what you said, why not rephrase? Saying something in a different way is helpful if the hearing impaired individual is having trouble with a certain sound or word.
- Seat Them Near a ‘Advocate’ – Identify someone who is empathetic and proactive to “advocate” for your guest. Will this person notice if your hearing impaired guest is having trouble discerning what is being said? Will he or she be patient when repeating or rephrasing things to them?
- Be Proactive – If you notice your guest sitting alone or having trouble hearing, approach them for a one-on-one conversation so they don’t feel left out.