How to Improve Your Relationships Amid Hearing Loss
It’s February—and love is perhaps in the air. When it comes to hearing loss, communication and conversation are even more pivotal to your relationships. It’s important to take the steps to ensure you can engage with the people you love without frustration or miscommunication.
Here are a few tips for managing relationship conversations amid hearing loss.
If you prioritize your conversations with the people in your life, then being open to assistive devices and hearing aids is important. While these might not make your ability to hear perfect in all scenarios, it could vastly improve it. Before you embark on beginning to use ALDs, have conversations with your loved ones to make clear how you anticipate this changing the way you communicate and to what degree you expect it to change. This will set you up for meeting your communication goals.
To have a great time with a loved one when you’ve experienced hearing loss, being selective about your location of choice can make or break the get-together. Choose a spot with little background noise that is well-lit so face-to-face interaction can occur easily. Plan ahead and pick out spots that are most conducive to conversation—maybe even stop in to test out the acoustics the night before.
One of the best ways you can set yourself up for successful interactions with a loved one during a meet-up is to arrive on time or even early. As a person with hearing loss, you know your ideal situation for engaging in conversation, so showing up beforehand to pick a perfect spot (particularly in public spaces) that is free from residual noise and hindrances to effective conversation is important.
One of the most important things in helping a person with hearing loss feel heard and like a part of the conversation is to make eye contact and stay engaged in the conversation. Whether for lip-reading or for facial context clues, face-to-face engagement is key. And don’t be afraid, as a person with hearing loss, to express ways in which the conversation could be more productive, like asking for clarifications or asking your conversation partner to speak more slowly or clearly.
Whether one or both of you have experienced hearing loss, patience is most definitely a virtue. Positivity and a little bit of lightheartedness can go a long way toward avoiding getting frustrated or even wanting to end the conversation. If you maintain open lines of communication on your conversational needs both of you can get what you want out of your interactions.