Basic Suggestions for
Effective Communication

Management of the
Speaking Situation

  • Effective Communication distance is usually between 6-10 feet, provided the speaker uses a normal conversational voice and the background noise low.
  • If possible, try to arrange the environment so that you sit with your better ear toward the speaker(s). Them, try to face the speaker rather than just turning your ear toward them.
  • Educate your family and friends to speak slowly to you only when they are in the same room and have your attention. Communication may be very difficult if the speaker and listener are in different rooms; for example. When the speaker is in the kitchen and you are in the TV room.
  • Inform the speaker that you have a hearing impairment and that you will do much better if they look at you and speak clearly and distinctly. Many normal people think that if you wear a hearing aid, your hearing aid ‘corrects’ your hearing the same way that glasses ‘correct’ your vision problems. You will also find that although many normal hearing people are willing to assist you to improve communication, they often do not know what to do. You can put them at ease by informing them of how to be helpful.
  • If you have not tried a hearing aid or have not been successful with them in the past, consult your audiologist who will assist you with the selection of appropriate amplification of assistive listening devices and in adjusting to their use.

Management of the Speaking Situation

  • Remember that hearing is a natural way to understand speech. If you have a hearing aid, USE IT. Some time you may not notice how much it helps but others will.
  • Do not expect to get every word. Follow along with the speaker and as you become familiar with the rhythm of the speech, key words will emerge that will allow you to predict the meaning. Do not dwell on how much you missed.
    a. Use the words you did hear to get more information: How? What? When? Who? Why?
    b. Restate what you heard to eliminate misunderstandings. Wha did you say about ______________? How did ____________ do ___________? When did ___________ do ___________?
    c. When you did not hear enough to use key words and the person has repeated the message, ask the person . to tell you again using different words.
    d. If the proper names are used and you can’t understand them even with repetition, ask the speaker to spell . them.
    a. I did not understand because I was not paying attention.
    b. I did not understand because the lighting was poor.
    c. I did not understand because it was too noisy.
    d. I did not understand because you were talking too softly. Overtime you will be able to anticipate and identify potential problems before they arise.
  • Remember that a conversation is a two-way affair. Do not monopolize the conversation just to avoid being the listener.
  • Be Realistic! You will not always be sure of what was said, however, by using some of these suggestions you should do better. Be aware that people will normal hearing frequently as for repetitions. Do not blame your hearing for everything that happens. No one hears everything all the time.

Tips for Difficult Listening Situations

Group Conversations: All of us experience some difficulty hearing in groups particularly when more than one speaker is talking. Hearing in groups requires close concentration. It may be wise to practice in groups of family and friends who understand your problem. You may need to avoid large groups in your early stage of communication skills and development. Gradually, you should be able to join in group discussions, particularly if you remember some of the management techniques discussed earlier.

Radio/Television: This is a problem for many hearing impaired people because visual cues (speech reading) are not always available. Many TV and Radio personalities speak rapidly and movies can be a problem due to background noise that interferes with dialogue. Try to sit closer to the TV rather than turning it louder. Reduce competing background noise as much as possible. Consider assistive listening devices (ALD) that are available.

Religious Services: This can be a problem for many hearing impaired people because noise levels vary so much from soft prayers to loud organ music/choral music. Also, room acoustics differ from one section of the church to another. It is usually best to try to situate yourself so that you are sis rows from the front and in direct line of minister’s face. You should experiment with various locations and find the one that is best for you. If you wear a hearing aid, you should adjust it so you are hearing the minister comfortably during the sermon. Some churches have special amplifiers and headsets to assist the hearing impaired.

Telephone: Most people with a hearing loss can do well with the telephone, especially if they have achieved a god level of satisfaction with a hearing aid. A telephone amplifier can be purchased through the telephone company for those who have difficulty. Some hearing aids come specially equipped with a special tele-magnetic device that some hearing aid user find helpful. Your audiologist will help you decide which arrangement is best for you.

Movies: Some people do very well when they go to the movies but the following general suggestions may be helpful for those who experience difficulty in this situation. Experiment sitting in various locations throughout the theatre so that you can find the best spot for your needs. Avoid sitting under the balcony. Attempt to sit close enough to the screen to optimize visual cues. Some movie theatres are equipped with Assistive Listening Devices (ALD).

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