Hearing loss is a major cause of communication problems, but additional factors can make listening even more difficult. If you want the best hearing experience, it’s good to know the factors that affect communication and the strategies used to improve your ability to hear.
Factors That Affect Communication
Having hearing loss puts you at a disadvantage during a conversation, but the following factors can cause a complete communication failure:
• A speaker who has a soft voice, speaks too fast, enunciates poorly, covers their face, or has a heavy accent
• Dim environmental lighting and excessive background noise
• An unfamiliar conversation topic
• A listener who is tired, sick, or has difficulty maintaining focus
Tips for Better Hearing
The first step towards better hearing is to schedule a hearing test with one of our audiologists and if recommended, be fit with hearing aids. Once you’ve had treatment for your hearing loss, the following strategies for better communication will be more effective:
Start off on the right foot. Alert others that you have a hearing loss and request that the speaker gain your attention before talking or changing topics. While you may initially feel embarrassed or shy about making this request, keep in mind that a speaker who wants to have a successful conversation with you will be happy that you spoke up.
Fix communication problems fast. Once communication has been lost, it’s so important to act quickly and not pretend that you heard what was said. The longer you wait to speak up, the more difficult it will be for you and the speaker to get back on track. It’s best to stop the speaker immediately, say the last thing you heard, and ask them to repeat what was said next. After the conversation, it’s good to paraphrase back to the speaker what you heard to verify that you understood correctly. It’s always good to have the speaker write down important dates and numbers so you can have accurate information.
Choose a good location. When given the choice, pick a quieter restaurant with good acoustics and position yourself close to the speaker. Make sure the lighting in the room is adequate and during the day sit with your back facing the window so the sunlight will shine on the speaker’s face.
Be familiar with the topic. Before beginning the conversation, ask the speaker to summarize what they will be talking about so you’re aware of the potential words and vocabulary being used.
Decide if it’s a good time to talk. If you’re feeling under the weather or tired, it may be better to postpone a conversation until you feel more focused.
Better Communication Starts with Better Hearing! Call Us Today at (314) 227-0571 to Schedule a Hearing Test.