Take These Steps into Consideration When Speaking with the Hearing Impaired
In an attempt at stimulating laughter from their audience, some stand-up comedians or improvisation artists will make reference in their performances to an elderly person with hearing impairment. Predictably, these stage acts/skits will incorporate communication that includes the following mannerisms which they ostensibly deem to be necessary for conversing with a person with hearing loss:
- Embellished hand gestures
- Speaking as if in slow motion
- Exaggerated mouthing of words
- Cupping hands around the mouth
- Snapping fingers/clapping to gain attention
Unfortunately, not only are these routines rather discourteous and insensitive to people with hearing loss, they are also complete misrepresentations of the manner in which any such conversations should in truth take place. Based on insight provided by hearing loss professionals, including the specialists at Bravo Hearing Centre in Toronto, the following considerations are recommended when conversing with people with hearing loss:
- Face the hearing impaired person directly
- Gain their attention by first saying their name
- Speak naturally – use a normal tone and pace
- Communicate in a clear and distinctive manner
- Avoid speaking rapidly or in complex sentences
- Keep hands/objects from obstructing face/mouth
- Eliminate or minimize background/extraneous noise
- Avoid distractions, interruptions, excessive gesturing
- Maintain eye contact through the entire conversation
- Rephrase versus repeat words/phrases not understood
There are those who may feel or state that conversing with hearing impaired individuals is too frustrating and therefore might take steps to avoid engaging in such interactions. However, this is a self-centered attitude and could even be considered as discriminatory, particularly in a business or professional environment.
Hearing impaired people should not be excluded from conversations but rather invited and encouraged to participate; with a measure of patience and courtesy, along with the concerted effort to apply the recommendations delineated above, these interactions can be both productive and satisfying for all parties involved.
A Complete Range of Services and Support for Individuals with Hearing Loss
While family members and colleagues can apply several proactive strategies to enhance conversations with hearing impaired persons, these latter individuals can also take steps to address/treat their hearing loss and help remedy or alleviate any potential frustrations with their partners in conversation.
When hearing loss is suspected, these individuals and their family members are advised to visit a hearing centre such as the Bravo Hearing Centre in Toronto. The specialists at Bravo Hearing Centre offer a comprehensive range of services and support to assist their clients with hearing-related complications and challenges. These services include but are not limited to:
- Hearing tests (audiograms)
- Hearing aid sales and dispensing
- A full line of hearing aid accessories
- Dispensing of assistive listening devices
- Patient and family member counseling services
- Aural rehabilitation – listening strategies, lip-reading
Please see our Hearing Services page for additional information on the complete range of hearing services offered by the hearing loss specialists at Bravo Hearing Centre.
If you suspect that you are experiencing any degree of hearing loss, consult the hearing loss specialists at Bravo Hearing Center for the best course of action or treatment. Call the Bravo Hearing Centre at 416-207-9711 today to book your complimentary hearing test and follow-up consultation with one of our licensed professionals.