If you’ve taken the first step toward better hearing by investing in hearing devices, you deserve to be congratulated. You now have an opportunity to develop good communication habits designed to maximize the benefits you receive from wearing hearing devices.
To understand and communicate effectively, you must learn to be a good listener and to control your environment to help compensate for your hearing loss…even while wearing your devices. To maximize the benefit you receive from your hearing devices:
Commit to wearing them. You have to become accustomed to hearing sounds you may not have heard for a long time. Certain sounds may initially be irritating but in time your brain will adjust and they’ll become normal. Do not stop wearing your hearing devices during this adjustment period. Be patient and focus on the commitment you have made to your hearing health.
Show them off! Inform others you are wearing hearing devices and give them guidance to allow you to communicate effectively. Face the listener when you talk, tell him or her to speak louder or move the conversation to another room if the environment is too noisy.
Control your environment. If you know you are going to be in a situation where background noise will interfere with your ability to communicate effectively, formulate a plan. For example, if you plan on dining with friends, look at a restaurant’s menu online beforehand and decide what you want, eliminating your need to ask the server to repeat menu choices. Arrive early to find seating away from sources of background noise.
Make eye contact. You will discover communication improves when you can evaluate and interpret body language and facial expressions.
Practice your listening skills. Listen to the radio or audiobooks. There is even auditory rehabilitative software you can buy for your computer to practice listening with background noise.
Be patient. Over time, listening with hearing devices will become second nature and you will be rewarded with the joy of hearing all the sounds of life.
Jessica Lasser CCC-SLP, one of our Speech-Language Pathologists, leads in-person and virtual communication workshops to help you manage your hearing loss.
Our Winter schedule for communication workshops in our clinic is below. Ask your audiologist or the front desk staff if you are interested in participating in either in-person or group sessions and they would be happy to sign you up.