List of Patient Articles
Signs of Hearing Loss
The onset of hearing loss can be gradual and difficult to detect. It may be easier for others to see than those experiencing the loss but friends, family and co-workers may be hesitant to mention it. Those experiencing hearing loss for the first time may be confused and frustrated by it and may genuinely believe that the problem is not with their hearing but with those around them or ambient noise keeping them from hearing and understanding.
Some common symptoms of hearing loss:
- Repeated misunderstanding of the words of those around you.
- Repeatedly turning up the television or radio out of difficulty hearing or understanding.
- Difficulty hearing bells or alarms that others seem to hear easily.
- An inability to understand people who talk while walking away from you.
- Difficulty hearing when in groups or crowded places.
- Difficulty hearing over small noises like running water or wind.
- Finding women’s and children’s voices more difficult to understand.
- Avoiding social situations out of exhaustion when trying to hear and understand others.
Tips for Communicating with those with Hearing Loss
Emphasize Face-to-Face Communication:
- Always face a hearing impaired person when speaking so they can take cues from your face and gestures as well as your words.
- Do not walk away while speaking.
- Wait to begin speaking until a hearing impaired person is looking at your face.
- Look them in the face throughout the conversation so it is easier for them to follow.
- If you are experiencing hearing loss, ask someone walking away from you to hold their thought until they come back rather than missing part of what they’re saying.
Avoid background and ambient noises:
- Those with hearing loss often have trouble hearing in rooms full of people talking. In a crowded restaurant, bar or party try to find a quieter place to communicate with those having hearing problems.
- Ambient noise like running water, dishwashers, microwaves or a TV or radio on in the background can make it difficult for people with hearing loss to hear. Try to keep these sounds to a minimum when you need to communicate with them
- When in a restaurant or around a crowded dinner table put those with hearing problems toward a quiet corner and put your back to any noise that could interfere with their ability to hear.
Speak Carefully, Use Non-Verbal Cues:
- Pause frequently to assess whether someone with hearing problems is hearing and understanding.
- Even when not using sign language, use facial cues and hand gestures to emphasize what’s being said
- Pay attention to the hearing impaired person’s face to see if they seem to understand.
- Slow your speech and use shorter sentences to allow the hearing impaired to follow more easily.
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