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May is Better Speech and Hearing Month! For the past 91 years, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has been working tirelessly to promote health and wellbeing for all Americans by raising awareness of communication and language disorders. This includes hearing loss.
Better Speech and Hearing Month is a time to recognize the negative health outcomes of living with hearing loss and bring awareness to prevention and treatment options. This year’s theme is Communication for All, and Kenwood Hearing Centers is here to help you communicate.
Don’t Underestimate Communication
Communication is a fundamental part of being human. We start talking when we’re very young, and we never stop. We communicate with our family and friends, the girl who takes our coffee order, and the man who pumps our gas. But if you’re not hearing clearly, communicating can become a real challenge.
Understanding conversations can be a frustrating experience or may leave you feeling embarrassed that you misheard or answered inappropriately. Many people living with untreated hearing loss face isolation, and studies have linked hearing loss to depression. You might feel ignored by your loved ones or are worried you’re not as close as you once were. If you want to keep communicating, the first thing you’ll have to do is admit that you have trouble hearing. The next step is to talk to your family about ways to help you hear.
Turn It Down
When your family is trying to communicate, one of the simplest things to do is turn down the volume on the TV or turn off the radio. All that background sound will make it harder for you to focus on what’s being said. Turning it down can be an easy way to catch far more of what’s being said.
Face to Face is Always Best
To facilitate communication, make a rule with your family that you always have to be face to face when you talk. If someone yells at you from across the room, you probably won’t hear what’s been said. If you’re sitting on the couch, ask your family to come sit down with you. If you’re both focused on communicating, you’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll hear. Seeing someone’s face while they’re speaking is also important, as it allows you to read facial cues, and catch more of the meaning behind the words.
Speak at a Normal Volume
Ask your family to stop yelling at you; it’s actually not helping you hear. Yelling can distort sounds, making it harder to understand. In fact, the only thing you might understand is that they’re frustrated at you for not hearing. Speak at a normal volume and with a normal speed but add a few pauses in speech at the end of a sentence or thought. This will give you time to process what’s been said and get ready for the next thought.
If you’re not understanding what someone is saying, another way they can help you hear is by rephrasing rather than just repeating the same words. When the sentence is rephrased, you’ll have a better chance of catching what’s being said. It’s also better to use a few more words. While you might be used to a simple “yes”, ask your family to use a few more words, such as “yes, that sounds good”. It won’t take any more time to say a couple more words, but it could give your ears and brain the extra time they need to understand what’s been said.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
If you struggle with hearing loss and know your communication is suffering, make sure to always wear your hearing aids! They’re designed to help you hear in every listening environment and have many features that help you separate background noise from speech sounds, focus on what you want to hear, and be able to hear all the important sounds to help you communicate.
If you have been struggling with communication, visit us at Kenwood Hearing Centers, where our team of hearing specialists will help you find the perfect hearing device. Starting with a complete hearing assessment, we’ll be able to give you the best advice when it comes to picking the right hearing aid for your lifestyle and hearing needs.