Making Conversation Easier for People with Hearing Loss
December can be loud—holiday music playing in stores, parties in homes and offices, lots of hustle and bustle. All of that background noise can make the season especially challenging for people with hearing loss. When listening requires a genuine effort, it can make people very tired. If you have friends or family members who wear hearing aids, here are some tips for making conversations easier for them:
- Stay within three to six feet when speaking with someone wearing hearing aids, that’s the range at which hearing aids work best.
- Keep any light sources behind the person with hearing aids; that will help keep you well lit, so they can better read your lips, watch the expressions on your face and see any gestures you make (even people with normal hearing understand 25% of a conversation visually).
- Try to stay in one place. For a person with hearing loss, a walk-and-talk conversation con prove difficult.
- Don’t have food or chewing gum in your mouth while speaking (that’s rude, anyway!).
- Indoors, if possible, turn off any appliances or entertainment tech that is adding noise to the environment.
The most important piece advice we can offer it is to be patient and understanding. Even with normal hearing, it can take a moment to process something we’ve heard. Just making the effort to help someone compensate for their hearing loss will mean a lot to them.