Hearing Loss & the Holidays: Tips for Communication

family-at-holiday-table.jpgThe holidays are the perfect time to connect with friends and family. However, these connections can be difficult with communication barriers such as hearing loss. For example, in a large group setting, it can also mean dealing with the clamor of competing conversations and exposure to noisy environments, which can make it very difficult to understand what individuals are saying.

Hearing aids are one way to reduce those barriers, but they are not a cure-all. Here are some simple tips that can help those with hearing loss successfully communicate with their loved ones:
  • As best as possible, try to reduce the background noise. It will help everyone listen more clearly.
  • Focus on your conversation partner by talking to them face-to-face. If at a restaurant, ask for a booth by a wall to reduce the commotion of your surroundings.
  • Consider some assistive technologies to help you focus on your conversation partner. These devices can help even when there is background noise. 

Communication is a two-way street which means it’s important for those without hearing loss to be considerate of their loved ones needs. Here are some simple strategies to help your conversation partner:
 
  • Be patient and be sure to speak slowly and clearly. An increased volume will just cause increased confusion for the person with hearing loss.
  • Make eye contact, speak directly to your loved one and avoid covering your mouth or turning away when speaking.
  • Make use of context clues which can help the conversation – especially in a noisy room. 

Communication barriers should not stand in the way of making connections with friends and family. For that reason just in time for the holiday season, the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) is giving the gift of hearing to as many people as possible. Through the “Hear for the Holidays” campaign, patients will receive a 10 percent discount on their hearing aid purchase through December 31.

For more information or to schedule an appointment for the “Hear for the Holidays” campaign, please call 215.277.2315.