8 Tips For Better Communication With Hearing Loss

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I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

Hearing loss can make conversations more challenging. Often we must rely on our conversation partners to practice communication best practices like facing us when they speak and providing context before changing topics. But communication is a two-way street. There are also many things we can do to enhance our ability to have successful and productive interactions with others. By following some simple rules of thumb, we can put ourselves in a better position to hear and communicate as best as is possible.

Here are my tips. Please share yours in the comments.

1. Inform Others About Your Hearing Loss

Don’t be shy about disclosing your hearing loss. People cannot help you if they do not know you are struggling. I make a habit of announcing my hearing loss at the start of any group meetings or retreats. It is easy to do as part of the introductions. This way I get the information out and avoid any awkwardness later when I ask someone to repeat themselves or grab a seat in the front row so I can hear the speaker better.

2. Be Specific About Your Needs

Let others know what they can do to help you hear your best. The more specific you are in your instructions — I need you to sit on my left side or please face me when you speak to me — the more likely you are to get good results. Be prepared to remind people what they can do to help. Since hearing loss is not visible, people sometimes quickly forget that you have trouble hearing.

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8 thoughts on “8 Tips For Better Communication With Hearing Loss”

  1. I would love to read a column about how others with hearing loss handle situations with humor. I could use some specific examples since I am so often on the verge of tears or worse because of my severe hearing loss. Are there any HOH stand-up comedians?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Humor is so important in dealing with hearing loss. Gael Hannan is very funny. Her website is https://www.gaelhannan.com.

  2. HI Shari,

    I think I have written this to before, but, well..here goes…
    Normal “hearing” people just don’t seem to understand the term “hard of hearing.”
    That’s why they often forget to follow my requests for looking at me, etc.
    That is why I wear the button that says “face me, so that I can hear you.”
    When they see the button, for the length of time that they are talking with me, they are constantly reminded of the fact that I cannot hear everything they are saying, unless they DO look at me.

    “Normal hearing” people also do not understand that there are degrees of hearing loss (i.e., mild, moderate, severe, etc). They really only understand “DEAF”.
    I find that telling them that I am “DEAF” gets them to accommodate my needs far more efficiently.

    Having been a speech pathologist, with training in Audiology, has helped me, in many ways, because I understand (and live with) the nuances of degrees of hearing loss.
    I I weren’t as impaired as I am, then I wouldn’t be able to explain these degrees of loss.
    But, the layperson just doesn’t get it.
    Rather than frustrate myself and my communication partner, it’s just easier to tell them that, for all intents and purposes, I’m “DEAF”. They do seem to get that.

    So, to you and to your readers, for what it’s worth, try to just cut to the chase and tell your communication partner that you’re “DEAF”. It just makes the exchange a helluva lot easier.

    Best,
    Ronnie

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  3. Thanks for turning us on to Gael Hannan’s website. She is very funny and articulate.
    She wrote at least one book…looks great.
    She has a gift for making hearing loss “NOT” tragic thing, but, rather, something to uplift one’s spirit!

    I signed up for her newsletter.

    She lives in Canada, which makes it impossible for me to see her in person. I live very far away (Israel).
    But, at least I can read what she wrote and not feel so isolated, with my hearing loss.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I review her book at the below link. She is very funny. Glad you are enjoying her work. https://livingwithhearingloss.com/2015/06/23/interesting-reads-the-way-i-hear-it-by-gael-hannan/

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for sharing it with your friends.

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