What People With Hearing Loss Want You To Know About Communicating With Them

What People With Hearing Loss Want You To Know About Communicating With Them

You might know a few people or even have close friends and family who are considered hard of hearing. According to Rhee Rosenman-Nesson, AuD and the founder of Hearing Doctors of New Jersey, "hard of hearing" is not a medical diagnosis but a description of anyone who may have any level of trouble hearing. It is not necessarily synonymous with the term "deaf" and may or may not include individuals who are members of the Deaf Community.

So, what is it people who are hard of hearing want us to know about communicating with them? After scouring online communities, we found these three common suggestions:

1. "We Don't Need Fixing"

Individuals living with hearing loss do not need someone to fix them. The attitude of always wanting to "fix" the person who is hard of hearing is insulting and unhelpful. After all, if everyone was the same, what kind of a boring world would that be? People who are hard of hearing are often highly skilled in attuning their other senses, giving them the ability to achieve greatness without perfect hearing.

2. "We Aren't Disabled"

Contrary to what some believe, many hard of hearing people do not consider themselves disabled. This is not to dismiss potential struggles of living with hearing loss, such as navigating conversations with those who are not used to communicating differently, but people with hearing loss can do anything anybody else can. Age related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a normal part of ageing!

3. "Please, Don't Yell"

Unfortunately, some people who do not know what it's like to be hard of hearing, perhaps trying to be helpful, believe they need to yell or talk slowly to a hard of hearing person. This is the exact opposite of helpful and can only succeed in being jarring or offensive.

Yelling does not help someone who is hard of hearing understand you better since your voice can become distorted, and it can make individuals who are hard of hearing feel like they are the object of anger or frustration. Even if you are frustrated, be patient. People who are hard of hearing will treat you with the same respect and patience you provide them.

Final Thoughts

Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their struggles, and adjust your communication style to complement theirs. When we work together as a hearing and hard of hearing community, we can effectively live with kindness and compassion one towards another.

To speak to us about your hearing or that of someone you know, get in touch with Simon and the team today.