Communication Tips2017-06-02T16:27:41+00:00

Because it takes more than good hearing to communicate well!

95% of all individuals with permanent (sensory-neural) hearing loss can be significantly helped by the use of appropriately prescribed amplification in the form of a hearing aid or assistive listening device (ALD).

Our facility offers the latest in hearing aid styles and technology.   However, because every person has different demands on their hearing, the most expensive or sophisticated hearing aid does not necessarily mean it is the best for that individual.

As a division, our goal is to fit patients with the technology that attempts to address no more than their specific listening needs.

Although hearing aids are often an essential component, our objective is not just to improve hearing, but also to enhance communication skills.

Hearing loss affects the ease by which individuals communicate.  When a hearing loss is present, it is often frustrating for both the person with the hearing loss and the individuals that he/she is attempting to communicate with.  Amplification through the use of hearing aids or other assistive listening devices improves the sensitivity to sound for hearing impaired individuals.  However, the primary objective is to not just improve hearing, but overall communication.  It takes two to communicate effectively: the listener and the speaker.  As such, we have developed a list of some very effective communication strategies for both to use.

In the busy, noise world in which we live, the approach we take to ensure that information and ideas are properly communicated is very important.  Much of what is suggested below is a matter of changing habits we have developed over time.  It can be done and we think that you’ll find it worth every effort.  With or without the use of hearing aids, these are strategies that will definitely improve your communication.

Relax:

As a listener, you should;

  • Try to understand the context of the conversation, not every word or sound.  Remember, trying to hear better does not mean you are going to understand better.  Allow your knowledge of the subject and the use of visual cues to do some of the work for you.  It’s the way the brain is supposed to work!

As a speaker, you should;

  • Speak a little more slowly, but don’t drag out your words or over emphasize your mouth movements.  It is better to speak at a normal rate, but take a short pauses between sentences and phrases.  You’ll be amazed at how well this works!

Make Use of What Can Be Seen:

As a listener, you should;

  • Watch the speaker’s lips, facial expressions and gestures while he/she speaks.
  • Position yourself to get a full view of the face, not just the profile.
  • Consider formal lip-reading instructions.
  • Ensure that your vision is adequate – with or without glasses.

As a speaker, you should;

  • Face the listener, get his/her attention and do not hide your mouth with your hand or any other object.
  • Realize that beards and moustaches can interfere with the ease of lip-reading.
  • Pay attention to the listener for cues that he/she does not understand.
  • Avoid using distracting gestures.

Controlling the Environment:

As a listener, you should;

  • Use a quiet room to talk.  Reduce background noise by turning off/down the television, closing a door or window, etc.
  • In public places, ask for any assistive listening devices that might be available.  Movie theaters and playhouses often have devices that will amplify the performers’ voices.
  • Maximize the use of lighting.  Have the light behind you, not behind the speaker, where it may cast a shadow on his/her face.
  • Reduce your distance from the speaker.
  • Avoid sitting close to walls or other hard surfaces.  Sound may bounce off these surfaces, making speech difficult to understand.

As a speaker, you should;

  • Be patient with the listener.  Realize the amount of energy and concentration he/she is putting forth.
  • Talk to your listener only when in the same room as him/her.
  • Take turns speaking; avoid interrupting others.
  • Indicate any change in speakers when speaking in a group.

Become Familiar with the Topic: 

As a listener, you should;

  • Request information (lecture notes, agenda, guest list) ahead of time.  It is easier to understand when you have an idea of what to expect.
  • Explain your needs.  Describe to others what helps you best to understand.
  • Ask that the speaker to use a visual presentation (overhead projector, PowerPoint presentation, blackboard) when available.  Ask a companion to take notes on important points so you may concentrate on listening and lip-reading.

As a speaker, you should;

  • Announce the topic of conversation and indicate when a new topic is introduced.
  • Ask the listener if your communication with him/her can be made clearer in any way.


Rephrase/Repeat:

As a listener, you should;

  • Repeat or rephrase what you think you heard.  This lets the speaker know what you heard and what needs clarification.  Asking the individual to repeat everything they just said can lead to frustration.
  • Be honest when you don’t understand.  If you only pretend to understand, the speaker may think you are not interested in what he/she is saying.

As a speaker, you should;

  • Summarize what has just been discussed before moving on to a new topic.
  • Say things using different words if repeating is not successful.

 

Don’t lose your sense of humor.  Misunderstandings occur in daily communication everyday!