Improving Communication with Your Family

Improving Communication with Your Family

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D. Uncategorized

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

Beverly Hills Hearing Center was founded in 1983 by Bonnie Baehr. Prior to that, Dr. Baehr practiced at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles as a staff audiologist for seven years. She was involved with diagnostic testing, hearing aid evaluations, research and rehabilitation. Dr. Baehr did her clinical fellowship training at the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in downtown Los Angeles. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, American Speech Language and Hearing Association, California Academy of Audiology and Academy of Doctors of Audiology. Bonnie enjoys hiking in her free time.
Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

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If you have a family member that suffers from hearing loss, there are many challenges that will come your way. There will be times you feel loneliness due to the changes in communication and the way it has altered the relationship, frustration as you try to keep engaged, and possibly feeling distance from your loved one as it affects shared activities. Know that these feelings are common to many that have someone close to them with a hearing impairment. There ways to cope and also strategies to incorporate so that the difficulties can be overcome!  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Get their attention

When you need to speak to them make sure you grab their attention first. If they are engaged in an activity a gentle tap on the shoulder works. Say their name and make sure they look at you first before you begin to speak. If there is any background noise try and turn it down or off, and then begin to speak to them. Always give them time to make sure they are focusing on you before you speak.

  1. Include pauses and enunciate

Speaking each word slowly doesn’t actually help the person with hearing loss understand better. It helps if you slow down your speech by adding a lengthier pause between each of the words and speak each word as clearly as possible. Speaking loudly doesn’t necessarily help if the speech sounds distorted to them to begin with. Pause and speak with clarity.

  1. Rephrasing is effective

Repetition not as much. If they don’t understand what you are saying even if you are speaking clearly and a slower pace try rephrasing. For example, “When do want to go to the gym?” could be turned to “What time are we exercising?” or “Will we work out in the next hour?” Finding different ways to say things to your loved one will produce quicker responses than mere repetition.

  1. Social gatherings

If you are out with your loved one in a noisy environment it is even more important to make sure you are facing them when having a conversation. Try make sure they are seated as far away from the source of loud noise as possible.  Don’t call to them with your back turned or from another room. This applies to home situations as well.

  1. Avoid one-word responses.

A “Yes” can easily be misheard as a “No” by people with hearing loss. To avoid this mistake from occurring it would be helpful to confirm your response with “Yes. I have the ticket” or “No. The package hasn’t arrived.” The same would apply with the words “cannot” and “can’t” so make sure you speak a full sentence. This allows the listener to collect more words and have a complete idea of what your answer actually is. Remember they are studying your facial expressions, looking at your lips and reading your body language in order to make sure that they are getting the right message. For this reason, it is important to face the listener when speaking to them, especially in environments with noisy backgrounds.

  1. Patience

People with hearing loss often feel that others don’t understand how hard they are trying at all times. That the strain they exert often results in emotional and physical fatigue. This is asides from all the changes in communication that they experience with other family members and friends. Try and keep this in mind and be as patient as possible.

  1. Keep it moving

Don’t take things personally when there are communication breakdowns. If you’ve tried all the techniques in your arsenal then pause and breathe. Don’t let the frustration spill over into resentment.

  1. A third party can help

Times can get tough for the family and it’s okay to reach out for help. Many health care professionals can offer help or know someone that can, as it is common for families that undergo an ordeal when of one of their members suffers from hearing loss. They would be a good place to start when seeking guidance and counseling. It really can help when a professional, neutral party, well-versed in strategies with pertinent can be there to assist your family members through the difficulties.

  1. Don’t wait too long

If you or a family member is displaying signs of hearing loss, get an assessment as soon as possible. Neglecting hearing loss only increases the chance of permanent damage and the sooner an evaluation is made the better. Increased isolation, withdrawal from social and familial event, increasing volume levels at the discomfort of others are some of the signs to look out for.

  1. Beverly Hills Hearing Center can help

Beverly Hills Hearing Center is here to give you the guidance you need.

Make an appointment to treat hearing loss effectively. We are look forward to your call and together we can make sure that you and your family members stay connected!