Living with hearing loss can cause communication challenges, but there are things you can do to help. Remember, even if someone has a cochlear implant or other hearing-assisted devices these simple tips can help bring clarity when communicating.
• Gain the person’s attention before you speak
• Avoid speaking from another room
• Face the person when talking to them, so they can see your face and lips
• Do not cover your face, touch, or put your hands over your mouth when talking (beards and moustaches can make things extra tricky too)!
• Be aware of background noise. It’s very difficult to understand conversations in a noisy room. Some hearing-assisted devices amplify the noise rather than giving clarity to speech.
• Keep your face well-lit. Do not stand with the light or a window behind you as your face will be in a shadow
• Do not shout! Speak clearly and not too fast or too slow
• Repeat the sentence again (just once) if necessary, then rephrase
• Write down important facts - times, dates, names, places, instructions
• Be calm and patient
• Gestures and facial expressions may help get your message across
AFTER YOU RECEIVE A COCHLEAR IMPLANT, HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP WITH COMMUNICATION.
After you receive your cochlear implant, you need to train your brain on how to listen, hear, understand and communicate with others. To do this, it is important to have conversations with your friends and family. It’s all about communication, communication, communication.
Here are some useful tips to help to keep conversations engaging and mitigate frustrations while you are learning to follow and understand conversations after you have your implant.
You may miss part of a conversation at the start, and instead of saying the word we all tend to use in these situations... “what?” which can be annoying and frustrating to both sides, try these strategies instead to keep the conversation engaging rather than frustrating:
- I think you said ... am I right?
- I think I am following you…just to clarify, we are talking about…
- I heard the last part, but missed the first thing you said, can you repeat it, please?
- I just missed the last thing you said, can you repeat that bit, please?
- I hear you but I am not understanding the words, can you reframe it, please?
- Will you say the same thing again but speak more slowly?
- I’m sorry, I wasn’t ready, will you please repeat that?
Other helpful pointers:
Think about your positioning and lighting when having conversations. For example, try to have chats in quiet, well-lit areas, like a living room as opposed to a noisy kitchen. Position yourself so that your better hearing ear is towards the speaker and one that allows you clear access to the speaker’s face for additional visual cues.
To make your communication experience more enjoyable, educate family and friends on what they can do to be as helpful as possible. Like the above strategies listed at the top of the page.