The following points may seem rather demanding and I apologize for that impression. You see the natural thing for someone with a hearing loss is to withdraw. I've done that so often I think people may consider me rather aloof and unfriendly. If you can meet me halfway by following these communication strategies, I will be more than happy to do the extra work it takes for me to have a conversation. It can be very lonely having a hearing loss. Let's talk!
- Get my attention before you begin speaking. No fair sneaking up on me. Really, it's too easy to startle me. I will jump every time. Make your presence known.
- Face me. Once you turn away, I'm no longer able to hear you.
- Do not cover your mouth with your hands. I know this is an unconscious gesture on your part, but I need to see your lips to "hear" you.
- Allow me time to respond. Just because there is a delay in my response, it doesn't mean I didn't hear you, I may just need more time to figure out what you said.
- Repeat or restate as necessary. I won't ask unless I really need it.
- Get to the point. Long, detailed stories are not for me. Sorry, but if I get lost and your story seems too complicated, I will give up on it.
- Written instructions or diagrams are always helpful.
- Group conversations are uncomfortable for me. I would much prefer to talk one on one. If I leave a group setting, it's because I'm tired and unable to keep up with the conversation, not because I don't like you. I enjoy private conversations in quiet settings.
- If we can communicate by text or email, I prefer that over the telephone EVERY time. I avoid using the phone as much as possible. If you receive a phone call from me, please know that I am making a special effort to communicate with you.