Getting together with family and friends, for holidays or parties or just for fun, can be enjoyable—but all those people can also make it difficult for someone with hearing loss to hear well. If you want to hear better in times like these, here are some simple tips that you can use.
Talk About Your Hearing Loss
The best way to hear better is to start with talking about your hearing loss.
For new friends or others who might not know you have a hearing loss, just let them know and say that you use a hearing implant to hear. And even if they already know that you have a hearing loss, a reminder won’t hurt; sometimes people won’t recognize if a specific situation is especially challenging. So if you’re having difficulties hearing, just say it.
Give Them Communication Tips
In some situations you might be tempted to keep your distance from people, or take a break from a crowded room and go to a quiet place. Although this could work as a short-term solution, it’s not an ideal way to deal with the fact that it is difficult to hear in some situations.
Here are some easy things that you can ask them to do:
- Move closer and speak towards your implanted ear—or if you have bilateral implants, towards your better ear.
- Ask them not to shout, but to speak clearly and in a normal voice. Some people without hearing loss assume that if they speak louder they will be easier to hear, so the only way to change that is by letting them know that it doesn’t.
- If you didn’t hear a word or sentence, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat what they said.
- Ask them to face you when you are speaking, because that way you’ll be able to pick up on their non-verbal communication.
- If you’re in a group, sit or stand where you can see everyone’s faces. If you need to, ask them to take turns so that you can follow the conversation and don’t have to listen to people talking over each other.
Make a Good Listening Environment
Your environment also has a big impact on how well you can hear. For example, having lots of background noises can make it difficult for anyone to hear, even if they don’t have a hearing loss.
- If you’re in a noisy place, like where there’s a TV or stereo turned on in the background, move to another room if possible. Or if it’s just been left on and nobody is watching or listening to it, just turn it off.
- If it’s too dark and you can’t see their faces, ask to move to somewhere else that is well-lit.
- If there’s too much noise around to have a conversation with one person, just move to a quieter corner or another room where there isn’t so much noise.
- If your conversation is interrupted by a loud noise that you know will end soon, like a loud truck driving by, just take a quick break and wait for it to pass.
- Use an assistive listening device, like a neckloop with a remote microphone. This way you can put the microphone near whoever is speaking and hear them even if you’re on the other side of the room.
The feeling of not being able to hear can be a big source of anxiety, so try not to stress yourself about it. With these simple steps you can know that you’re working to hear better regardless of the situation.
This post was written with the help of Diana Zegg, a Rehabilitation Manager at MED-EL.
Subscribe to the MED-EL blog for more hands-on tips to help you hear better!
Do you have any special tricks that you do to hear better when you’re at a gathering? Let us know in a comment below!