When you have hearing loss, understanding speech in a conversation can be difficult, especially if there is noise in the background. Communicating in a large group is even harder with multiple speakers, a mix of high- and low-frequency voices, and maybe one or three conversations happening simultaneously.
Conversation is a two-way street, and when you have hearing loss you want to make sure you can succeed as both the listener and the speaker. This means helping others in the conversation to help you.
Here are some tips to help communicate smoothly, both as a listener and speaker:
1. Be open about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss is something you can’t see, so it’s up to you to be upfront about your hearing needs in any situation. Acknowledge your hearing loss and let others know what sounds are difficult for you to hear and what background noises they should think of before talking.
Consider offering up some ways they can help you listen and communicate better as well. See below for some examples:
- Pause conversation when loud noises overwhelm speakers’ voices
- Sit facing you so that lip reading is possible
- Speak slowly and clearly, but don’t over— or under— enunciate and don’t shout
2. Suggest the meeting place or event location.
As you plan to meet with friends and family, try to be part of deciding where you will meet and when. This way you can better control the setting you’ll be in and plan accordingly. For example, if you are meeting for lunch, try to go for a later lunch hour when there won’t be as many people.
3. Arrive early.
Know how your mother always said to arrive early? Well, these are wise words for anyone with hearing loss. Arriving early allows you to take the time to consider where you and your group can sit, choose the best seat for yourself (if possible, one that allows you to face everyone). Also take some time to allow your ears to adjust to the environment.
Arriving early also allows your ears to adjust to the environment and gives you the opportunity to change your hearing aids to the appropriate program. Halo and Halo 2 hearing aids are especially helpful when conversing in busy environments as they allow you to adjust your programs, volume, sound quality and create unique geotagged memories for any location. Your iPhone can act as a remote microphone to amplify speech over noise.
4. Speak up when you miss something. Sometimes you just miss something in a conversation or you aren’t sure you heard it correctly. When this happens, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask someone to repeat themselves.
Don’t wear hearing aids but want to hear better in noisy situations? Check out our Halo 2 hearing aids here!