HEARING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
During the holidays, people are more often to be at parties and family get-togethers with many other people. While listening in these crowded, noisy situations is a challenge for anyone, it can be even more difficult for people with hearing loss.
If you read our other Blogs, you will be familiar with the importance of having your hearing checked, the advantage to listening with both ears, and some advances in hearing aid technology that can help optimize hearing. There are other, practical things that can be done to help those with hearing loss participate in busy settings.
If you are trying to communicate with a person with hearing loss and there is a lot of background noise, here are some suggestions:
1.) Face to face. Visual information is very important, especially when it is noisy. Make sure the other person in the conversation can see your face easily.
2.) Don’t talk with your mouth full. Even though most of us were taught this at a young age, anything that blocks or distorts mouth movements or muffles speech sounds can affect communication.
3.) Be in the spotlight. Good lighting allows clear views of facial expressions and mouth movements.
4.) Get their attention. Say the name of the person you are talking to before giving any other information. This lets the listener know you are talking to them, not to someone else in the room. This is not always obvious, especially in a large group. It is easy to ignore speech that is unclear, especially in background noise, so it is very important to have the attention of the person you want to talk to.
5.) Be a wallflower. Standing or sitting next to a wall reduces the background noise, especially when compared to being in the middle of a room with noise on all sides.
6.) Walk away. If you can distance yourself from the source of music or loud noise, it will greatly increase understanding.
7.) Speak up and slow down. Projecting your voice slightly (not yelling) can be helpful, as well as slowing your rate of speech. Both techniques can make it easier for those with hearing loss to understand you.
8.) Ask. Find out from the listener how you can make yourself understood more easily.
One of the best gifts you can give to any one with hearing loss is patience! Even appropriately fit hearing aids cannot make hearing perfect, especially in background noise and in group situations. Hearing is a complex process that involves both the ears and brain.
If you have questions about your ability to hear in noisy situations or environments, please contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us to set up an appointment (740-369-3650).
Written by Donna Ramey, MA, CCC-A, Audiologist
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