Improving Communication with Your Family

Improving Communication with Your Family

Dede Redfearn

Hearing loss can develop slowly over time until all of the sudden it seems it is hard to hear your friends and family creating regular miscommunication. If ignored these simple miscommunications can add up to strains in these precious relationships that can be hard to repair. 

It’s important to know the signs of hearing loss so you can identify hearing loss in a loved one or self diagnose your condition and seek help. Once you recognize hearing issues, you and your family can work together to make it easier for the person with hearing loss to communicate clearly despite their disability. 

Recognizing  the Signs of Hearing Loss

It is often certain tones or pitches that go first making speech comprehension just a little bit harder, delaying reaction time and forcing the affected person to guess or pretend they understand casual conversation. Some of the common signs that you may have hearing loss include:

  • Sounds and speech sound muffled
  • You often have to ask people to repeat themselves
  • Especially hard to hear in a crowded or noisy environment
  • You struggle to hear certain consonants or people with high or low voices.
  • People complain that you listen to the TV or radio too loud
  • You choose to avoid social situations or you notice you withdrawal from conversations

If any of these symptoms ring true to you it is a good idea to visit us. We can diagnose your hearing loss and help you to find the best hearing solution for you.

Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids

Hearing loss is treatable with the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the sounds around you that you struggle with so you can communicate clearly again and hear the world around you. When you can hear your family and friends again you can take the steps to rebuild strained relationships. 

Two Basic Guidelines for Healthy Family Communication

Even with hearing aids it can sometimes still be a challenge to hear and you may have to ask your family to make accommodations to make sure communication goes smoothly.

Suzanne Jones, an author at Hearing Health describes an important concept for families with members dealing with hearing loss. She writes, “If you are the speaker, it is your job to be sure what you’re saying is being heard and understood. If it isn’t, you need to fix it. If you are the listener, it’s your job to let the speaker know whether you’ve heard and understood.” 

The other thing Jones asks us to consider when dealing with communication issues is:  “Be nice to each other!” Constant miscommunication can put stress on everyone, but if everyone is patient and loving with each other the lines of communication can be much more opened and relaxed. 

Tips for Successful Communication

  • One of the most important things for people learning to communicate with loved ones with hearing loss is to make sure that you have the listener’s attention before attempting to speak to them. Look for eye contact and engagement. If they are not paying attention a gentle touch on the shoulder to make sure you have their attention will make communication go smoother.
  • It is also important that the listener has a clear view of your face. Facial expressions and body language help a person with hearing loss supplement understanding of the tone and intention of your voice and can even allow some to read your lips.
  • If the listener asks you to repeat yourself try rephrasing instead. A rephrasing may avoid a sound or tone the listener’s struggles with giving the listener added context to understand the content.
  • When people have taken the leap to treat their hearing with hearing aids communication will become much easier. Just remember to speak clearly and slowly. There is no need to yell as hearing aids are set to pick up normal speaking volume. 

Invest in Healthy Communication

Even though hearing aids have been proven to help people communicate clearer with family and friends only 20% of those who could benefit from hearing aids use them. Don’t risk the valuable relationships with the people closest to you. Contact us today and get on a path to clear communication today.