Have you ever heard a buzz or a ringing sound in your ears while attending a party, concert or an event?
That buzzing sound is called Tinnitus. Many experts believe that people exposed to this are losing their hearing at a much younger age than they did just 30 years ago. While Tinnitus and hearing loss are often confused, you must understand they are not similar. Hearing loss is usually caused by damage to the delicate cells of the inner ear, Tinnitus is caused because of the damage in the cells.
Deafness is poorly understood in general. For instance, there is a common misconception that deaf people live in a world of silence. But this is far from the truth. Some people are born with hearing impairments, while many lose their hearing over time due to several many reasons. During child development, it can really affect the kid in a bigger way. Even a mild or partial hearing disorder can affect their confidence and behaviour.
While some types of hearing loss are permanent whereas some are not, we at TABIIB are here to help you with a list of communication tips you could use while taking care of people with hearing impairment. After all, better care is better understanding
Tips to communicate with people having hearing loss:
1. Face the hearing-impaired person:
You should always face the hearing-impaired person on the same level and in good light whenever possible. Positioning yourself in light while you’re talking will help them read your lips and understand better.
2. Make sure you’re in the same room:
One thing to note here is that you shouldn’t talk from the other room. Not being able to see each other while talking is a common reason for a hearing-impaired person to have difficulty in understanding what is being said.
3. Speaking tone and Speed:
While talking to a hearing-impaired person, you should always speak clearly, slowly and use simple terms. Use a very natural and soft tone. If you speak loudly or exaggerate with expressions, the sound distorts. It will make the person uneasy for not being able to understand what you’re saying.
4. Conversation starter:
When you are about to start a conversation, make sure to say the person’s name then continue with the conversation. This will make the listener’s focus better and reduce the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
5. Body movements:
One must note, that while talking you should keep your hands away from your face. If you are eating, chewing or drinking while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand. Beard and moustache can also interfere with the ability of the hearing-impaired to understand what’s being said.
6. Know which side of ears are effected:
If the hearing-impaired listener hears better from one ear as compared to the other ear, try to remember which ear is better. This will help you in positioning yourself and conversing with them.
7. Distortion and Environment:
Sometimes people with hearing-impairment are very sensitive to loud sounds. Their tolerance for loud sounds is not very uncommon. Avoid areas with loud noises whenever possible to make them feel comfortable.
8. Avoid Repetition:
Yes, you read it right. If the hearing-impaired have difficulty hearing or understanding a particular phrase or a word, try and find another way of saying the same thing rather than repeating the original word over and over again.
9. Use an app in the external environment:
There are numerous apps that can be downloaded that you could use while in an external environment. Like, using a note app where you could text and show. It can be very effective in such situations for better and apt understanding.
10. Learning sign language:
Learning sign language will help you naturally connect with the hearing-impaired. It will also help you in giving a better understanding of the challenges they face. Conversing in a sign language gives them more confidence and comfort. It also makes them feel included.