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Support for Friends and Family

As a family member, friend, or colleague of a person with hearing loss, it’s important to help improve communication, overcome any relationship issues, and reduce feelings of embarrassment or isolation. The Hearing Loss Association of America offers several helpful suggestions including:

Set the Stage

  • Face the person directly
  • Spotlight your face and avoid back lighting
  • Avoid settings with excess background noise
  • Make sure you have their attention before speaking
  • Ask how you can improve communication, and
  • When audio and acoustics are poor, provide additional visual cues

Get the Point Across

  • Don’t shout
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace
  • Don’t over emphasize words
  • Don’t hide your mouth, chew food or gum, or smoke while talking
  • Rephrase, if you’re not understood
  • Use facial expressions, gestures, and other visual cues, and
  • Be clear when you change subjects

Establish Empathy

  • If their response seems slow, be patient
  • Don’t avoid conversation
  • Show respect to help build confidence and have constructive conversations
  • Maintain a sense of humor
  • Be positive and relaxed
  • Don’t get discouraged, and
  • Ask for feedback

The Hearing Loss Association of America Communication Tips is a helpful resource for the workplace. It offers practical tips for one-on-one conversations and group meetings, in order to create a more comfortable environment for hearing-impaired colleagues.

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The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

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