It's only natural for someone with hearing loss to withdraw when communication breakdowns occur. To avoid this problem, let's implement these basic communication strategies. If you as a speaker will meet me halfway as a listener, then I am more than willing to do the extra work it takes for me to have a conversation. I find that it can be lonely having a hearing loss. Let's talk!
- Please 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, that 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.
- Please 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. If you receive a phone call from me, please know that I am making a special effort to communicate with you.