Difficulty hearing in noisy situations is one of the most common complaints of people with hearing loss. In some cases, people with hearing loss will get a hearing aid and this difficulty is alleviated to some degree. Other times however, the hearing loss is not enough to a need for hearing aids or the difficulty hearing is background noise persists even with hearing aids. In these cases, it is very helpful to use some communication strategies to help hear better when in noisy situations.
Here are some listening strategies to help in situations where we are not hearing our best:
HOW CAN YOU REDUCE BACKGROUND NOISE IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT?
– At Home: Turn the TV off, down, or mute it when having a conversation
– In the Kitchen: Turn off running water, the microwave, and fans that cause a lot of background noise
– In the Car: Roll up the windows and turn down the radio to better understand the speaker
– At the Office: Close the door to the room you are trying to have a conversation, this will help block out the extra office noise
– In the Restaurant: Request a booth up against the wall or in a corner, avoid tables in the middle of the dining area, try to avoid
busy dinner rush hours because there is more commotion and noise, ask to be seated away from the kitchen
CAN YOU SEE THE SPEAKER?
– Face the person talking: Facial expressions, gestures and speech reading are all helpful cues in understanding and hearing the message
– Wear your glasses: This will help you see the speakers face and mouth
– Sit close to the speaker: The closer you are the easier it is to hear and see them, stay within 6 feet of each other; Avoid having conversation from different rooms
– Good lighting is important to see the speaker clearly
WHAT DID YOU HEAR?
– Repeat what you heard: This helps the speaker know you are listening
– Avoid using the phrases “huh?” and “what?”: Instead repeat the parts you heard and the speaker can fill in any blanks
– Don’t pretend you heard everything! Do not just nod in agreement; you never know what you might be agreeing to
Communication strategies can be used for people with hearing loss, but they are also effective and useful for people without hearing loss as well. It is important to remember that even those with great hearing still struggle to hear in some situations.
Next week we will go over good communication strategies for partners of those who have hearing loss. Sometimes we as communication partners can get frustrated or upset at our significant other who has difficulty hearing. We have some tips and strategies to help improve the flow of communication! Stay tuned!
If you are experiencing any difficulty hearing in background noise, please contact our office at 651-888-7800 to make an appointment with one of our audiologists.