It takes effort to let people know about our hearing loss and educate them (perhaps for the umpteenth time) about what assistance we need from them to ease conversation. But what choice do we have? Good communication is a two-way street and without the critical step of self-identifying, difficult listening situations cannot be remedied. My latest article for HHTM discusses the importance of letting others know about your hearing loss.
See an excerpt below. Read the full piece on HHTM.
Self-Identifying is Step #1 for Good Communication
During my last trip to the hair salon, I ran into a fellow parent at my children’s school. Both of our daughters had recently started college and we had much to discuss.
The questions were endless, but the conversation was challenging — at least for me — because we were both wearing masks. In the reverberant space, and without the help of lipreading cues, I struggled. I could have paused the conversation, mentioned my hearing loss, and whipped out my speech-to-text app to help, but it didn’t seem important enough. Perhaps that was a mistake. If we don’t let others know we are struggling, it is much harder to improve a difficult listening situation.
Building Your Hearing Loss Script
How can you best let others know about your hearing loss? I used to avoid disclosing my hearing loss to others, held back by stigma. But now, I lead with this information. Whenever I meet someone that I am having trouble understanding, I let them know that I have hearing loss and ask them to:
- speak louder
- turn on the captions
- talk slower
- switch seats with me
- or whatever I need them to do to help us communicate.
Being as specific as possible in our requests provides the best results. While people are often willing to help once they know you have hearing loss, they usually do not know how to assist. This is further complicated by the fact that each hearing loss is unique. The adjustments I need might not be the ones required by the next person with hearing loss they meet. The more detailed we are when describing the assistance we need, the more likely we are to get it.
Continue reading on HHTM for more ideas.