Conquering Communication Breakdowns At Home Caused By Hearing Loss

Conquering Communication Breakdowns At Home Caused By Hearing Loss

Home is where you're meant to feel the most comfortable and the most confident in your ability to communicate. Unlike public areas, it’s not crowded and full of people, there aren't noisy disruptions like there would be outside, and it's your own personal space. 

So why do communication breakdowns still happen in our own homes?

Even in your own house, disruptions and background noises can impact your ability to hear those around you. This can be incredibly frustrating, but by taking the proper steps, you can conquer communication breakdowns in your home and have enjoyable conversations. 

Let's take a look at some easy-to-try tips you can use at home to start conquering communication breakdowns caused by hearing loss. 

How to improve communication at home if you’re deaf or hard of hearing 

It's challenging to break habits, but some of yours might actually be hindering your ability to listen effectively. 

Here are four tips to consider when conquering communication breakdowns at home. 

1. Eliminate background noise

If you want to have a meaningful conversation with your family or friends in your home, you must eliminate any background noise. 

Background noise will make it difficult for your hearing aid to pick up what someone is saying. This will create obstacles for you to overcome in the conversation, making listening difficult. 

So, when you're talking to somebody, make sure you switch off:

  • Dishwasher
  • TV
  • Running water
  • Radio 
  • Washing machine 
  • Dryer

Think about it. Would you prefer to nurture a relationship with your loved ones or your TV? The choice is yours, but if you want to make listening easier at home, switch off your TV while having a conversation. 

2. Concentrate on the conversation—not chores

Chores are essential, of course, but if somebody is trying to have a conversation with you, avoid doing the dishes or the laundry while trying to converse. 

If you have to finish the dishes immediately, ask them to help you finish them before you start your conversation. But don't start talking until after the dishes are done.

The loud noises of plates and cutlery banging off the surface make it hard to pick up what they're saying to you. 

How to improve communication with hearing loss

3. Don't talk from another room

Try not to shout down the hallway to get somebody's attention. Avoid having conversations between rooms, too. This will make it incredibly difficult to pick up what your speaker is saying, and you won't be able to have a meaningful discussion. 

Instead, talk face-to-face so you can take in the whole conversation instead of a few words being called from another room. 

So, either go to the speaker or ask them to come to you. Both listening partners are equally responsible for reducing the distance or getting face-to-face. Work together to ensure there are no breakdowns in communication. 

4. Actively listen

One of the most essential communication tips to consider is actively listening during conversations. By listening actively, you'll prioritize what the other person has to say instead of passively listening to the conversation. 

If you choose to be selective with your listening, you might miss out on the message's main point. 

Tips for the listener when communicating at home

As the listener, there’s a lot you'll be able to do to make communicating at home as easy as possible for you and the speaker. 

There are a few things you should take into consideration as an individual with hearing loss. Here is a quick list to help make sure you're doing everything possible to eliminate communication issues at home: 

  • Pay attention and practice active listening 
  • Avoid pretending you have understood what was said—it will only confuse things later
  • Make sure you have good lighting to see the speaker's face easily
  • Remind people to look at you when they speak
  • Reduce the distance; 3-6 feet is best
  • Do not talk from another room
  • Wait a millisecond before asking for repetition. Hearing loss will take longer to process what you've just heard. Also, ask the speaker to pause more in between sentences
  • Reduce background noise when possible
  • Avoid reverberant/echoey rooms if possible 
  • Choose favorable seating in large rooms
  • Sit in a way that will reduce the amount of visual noise. A lot of movement in the background is distracting 
  • Avoid using “huh,” “what,” or “I didn't hear you.” Instead, "I didn't understand what you said because…." 
  • Practice asking people for help. This includes asking for repetition, rephrasing, clarification, topic, letters, and numbers
  • Make sure family, friends, and co-workers get your attention before talking to you

We hope this list of listener-specific tips will help you have clearer conversations with your listening partner at home.  

Tips for Communicating With Hearing Loss

Tips for the speaker when communicating at home

As the speaker, you're a partner to the individual with hearing loss. It's as much your responsibility as it is theirs to make the conversation as easy as possible. 

Here are a few tips for you, as the speaker, to consider when conversing with a person with hearing loss at home. 

  • Face the person with a hearing loss so they can see your face when speaking 
  • Be sure the lighting is in front of you when you speak. This allows a person with a hearing impairment to observe facial expressions, gestures, and lip and body movements that provide communication clues
  • During conversations, turn off the TV or radio
  • Avoid speaking while chewing food or covering your mouth with your hands
  • Speak slightly louder than usual, but don't shout. Shouting may distort your speech 
  • Speak at your regular rate and do not exaggerate sounds
  • Clue the person with the hearing loss about the topic of the conversation whenever possible
  • Rephrase your statement into shorter, more straightforward sentences if it appears you are not being understood

We hope these tips have helped you and your listening partner figure out how to communicate better at home. 

If you're interested in learning more about how to conquer communication breakdowns caused by hearing loss, then get in touch, we'd love to answer any questions you might have. 

If you think you or a loved one is deaf or hard of hearing, schedule a hearing test at The Hearing Solution: Click here or Call 916-646-2471

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.

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