That said, if hearing loss is new to you, you may be struggling around how to tell those around you that you are hard of hearing. Below are some helpful tips to empower you to feel more confident about talking to your friends, family, and coworkers about your hearing loss and your needs around it.
7 Tips to Help Tell Others About Your Hearing Loss
- Don’t be embarrassed – Many of us can be apprehensive when talking openly about our health. Don’t be shy or embarrassed that you are hard of hearing. The more accepting you are, the sooner those around you will learn how best to communicate with you. Use this opportunity to educate them, you may find that many people will be quite interested to hear what you have to share.
- Stay positive – Address your hearing loss to those around you. Let your family, friends, and coworkers know if you wear hearing aids and that you may at times miss things. Explain how your hearing aids work and which listening situations may be a challenge.
- Take action – If you find yourself in unfavorable listening conditions, be sure to let those around you know. If turning off the radio or television will help you, then ask this of your companions. If it will help to sit in a certain seat in a busy restaurant, make the request. Be assertive to manipulating your environment to make communication more effective.
- Speak up – If you’ve missed something in the conversation, be sure to speak up and ask the talker to repeat themselves. This will help avoid any misunderstandings that may result in frustration and communication breakdown.
- Active Listening – When participating in active listening, the listener feeds back what they’ve heard to the speaker to ensure they’ve understood what is being said. Including this in your communication toolbox will help you avoid miscommunication, frustration, and shows your communication partner that you’re interested in what they have to say.
- Give feedback and ask for help – Tell people how they can help you hear better. Offer some of the following tips:
- “Please catch my attention before you speak to me. It’s easier for me to understand if I’m looking at you.”
- “Speak clearly and not too fast.”
- “Use body language to help illustrate what you’re saying.”
- “Repeat yourself if you think I may not have heard you.”
- Know your rights in the workplace – Depending where you live and work, there may be laws in place to protect individuals with hearing loss in the workplace. If you have noise induced hearing loss caused by your work environment, you may be entitled to ear protection and/or compensation.