If your ‘isolation bubble’ companion or someone in your wider ‘telephone/internet’ network is hard of hearing, brushing up on your communication practices may help to weather this lockdown.
When speaking on the phone:
- Avoid background noise: It is not always possible but reduce or remove it if you can.
- Speak clearly: Take time to pronounce your words, particularly the beginnings and endings. This slows down your speech and raises the clarity.
- Don’t waffle: You can avoid misunderstandings if you briefly explain what, who, where and how.
- Rephrase: If you are not understood, say it in different words.
- When speaking directly to a person, as well also using the above tips:
- Attract the person’s attention: call them by nameor gently touch them. Do not speak until they acknowledge you.
- Face the person: hearing impaired people need to see your facial expressions and sometimes speech read. Avoid shadows on your face and don’t stand with the light behind you. Keep hands and fingers away from your face and mouth (a good covid-19 practice).
It is necessary to be patient. Hearing aids don’t make a person hear ‘normally’ and some people may smile and nod even when they’ve not heard correctly. You can avoid errors by asking the person to repeat important messages. If this does not work, write it down. It’s up to you to share the responsibility for good communication.
If you have a hearing loss
Here are some tips to help family communicate better with you.
- Avoid noisy backgrounds, turn off distracting radios, TVs or stereos
- Face the speaker while they talk
- Ask specific questions about what you didn’t hear
- Share with people how to best speak with you
- Provide feedback to the speaker
- Share the responsibility for effective communication
For more details see www.lifeunlimited.net.nz/hearing/resources/communication-tips/