Hearing loss affects not just how someone hears, but how they communicate. To overcome this people tend to develop a particular communication style, and we can group these into three basic communication styles: passive, assertive, and aggressive.
If you’ve got hearing loss, understanding your own communication style can help you to better communicate. As you read through the rest of this article, think to yourself: does this sound like me?
The Three Communication Styles
This is a very common communication style. Here are some of the traits of a passive communicator:
- Avoid social interactions or withdraw from conversations.
- Be afraid of not being able to communicate well, being embarrassed, or just not understanding what’s going on.
- Nodding “yes” even when they don’t understand what’s going on
- Think that it’s easier for everyone to be passive.
Unfortunately, being passive often results in unintended misunderstandings. Someone who is a very passive communicator might miss out on social or work opportunities because of this.
An assertive communicator tends to understand exactly how they are communicating. Here’s what an assertive communicator does:
- Not being afraid to let others know about their hearing loss.
- Open and honest about their communication needs.
- Willing to ask for help from their conversation partners.
- Use communication strategies and advocate for themselves.
Aggressive communicators are the ones who dominate conversation. Here is how an aggressive communicator communicates:
- Blame the other person for any communication difficulties.
- Ignore speakers to force him or her to repeat themselves.
- Avoid having to work to understand what’s being said.
- Be perceived as hostile or overbearing.
Your Communication Style
Which one of these three styles describes you best?
If you’re thinking to yourself that you’re a passive or aggressive communicator, that’s not bad—no, it’s good! You’re starting to understand how you communicate.
Remember, everyone has times when he or she will have troubles communicating. This goes even for people who don’t have hearing loss. Developing skills to handle difficult communication situations will help you to be an assertive and independent communicator. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and letting others know about them, will make it easier for everyone to have a fruitful conversation even when some things might need to be repeated. Most people want to help you communicate well, but those without hearing loss often don’t know how to help.
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