For the hearing impaired, communicating with people on the phone can be a daunting task. However, it is not impossible! There are many strategies that you can use to make phone communication easier and more effective. In this blog post, we will discuss 6 of the most effective phone communication strategies for hearing-impaired individuals.
1. Avoid Background Noise
Background noise can become an obstacle to effective communication regardless of the setting and people involved. However, it can be especially problematic for people with hearing loss when using the phone. When making a call try to find a quiet place to talk. This will help you to hear the person on the other end more clearly and make it easier to communicate effectively.
If you cannot avoid background noise entirely, there are still steps that you can take to minimize its impact and avoid distractions. For instance, you can ask the person on the other end of the line to speak more slowly and clearly. You can also request that they avoid using acronyms or jargon, which can add an additional layer of confusion to the conversation.
2. Schedule Your Calls
Though it's common for people to use the late afternoon to catch up with friends and family members, for the hearing impaired, this might not be the best time. Late in the day, our energy and focus tend to wane, making it more difficult to pay attention to a conversation. If possible, schedule your calls for earlier in the day when you are likely to be more alert and focused.
If you cannot control when your calls take place, or if you have a friend or family member who isn't available earlier in the day, there are still things that you can do to prepare yourself. For instance, you can take a break beforehand to rest and clear your mind. You can also have a list of questions or topics you want to discuss handy so you can refer to it if needed.
No matter when you schedule your calls, be sure to allow yourself enough time to talk. Rushing through a conversation can make it more difficult to understand what is being said and make it harder to communicate effectively.
3. Use Your Landline
Communicating effectively over any kind of phone can be tricky, but generally speaking, landlines can be easier to use for people with hearing loss than cell phones. This is because landlines tend to have better sound quality, making it easier to hear the person on the other end of the line.
It's more common for older adults to have landlines, but if you don't have a landline, or if you are unable to use one for your call, there are still things that you can do to improve the sound quality of your cell phone conversation. For instance, you can wear a headset or earbuds to help amplify the sound. You can also use speakerphone mode, though this can be challenging if you are trying to have a private conversation.
4. Try Video Chatting
When having a conversation in person, we employ many communication skills to help us effectively communicate. Between reading facial expressions, maintaining eye contact, and understanding body language, we are able to glean a lot of information that can help us understand what is being said.
This is why video chatting can be such an effective communication tool for people with hearing loss. When you can see the person that you are talking to, it becomes easier to pick up on important visual cues that can help you understand the conversation.
Before making a video call, make sure that you'll be in a space with adequate lighting. This will help the person on the other end of the line see you more clearly. Additionally, be aware of your body language and facial expressions, as they can play a role in how the conversation is interpreted.
5. Be Honest
There are many effective communication techniques, but this is one of the most important! When speaking to other people over the phone, always exercise patience with yourself and speak up if you are having difficulty understanding what is being said.
If the person on the other end of the line is speaking too quickly, or if there is too much background noise for you to hear clearly, let them know and ask them to slow down or repeat themselves. It can be tempting to try to power through a conversation without asking for clarification, but this can often lead to misunderstandings.
Additionally, don't be afraid to let the person on the other end of the line know if you need a break. If you are feeling overwhelmed or tired, it's okay to take a step back and come back to the conversation at another time.
6. Utilize New Technology
When it comes to treating hearing loss, there's no more popular solution than hearing aids. Moreover, when it comes to talking on the phone, there's no better tool than Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids!
With Bluetooth, you can connect your hearing aid directly to your phone to help you hear the conversation more clearly. This strategy works particularly well for people who wear hearing aids in both ears; traditionally, you can only hear a phone conversation in one ear, but with Bluetooth, you can listen in both. Additionally, many Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids come with special features that can help reduce any background noise, improving communication.
If you are looking for a way to improve your phone conversations, investing in Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids is a great solution! At Francis Audiology, we're proud to offer to latest in hearing aid technology, including Bluetooth-enabled devices.
7. Visit Francis Audiology
Just as you'd visit any number of healthcare providers to maintain your physical health, it's important to visit an audiologist regularly to maintain your hearing health. At Francis Audiology, we can help you with a variety of hearing-related concerns, from hearing loss prevention to tinnitus management. We offer a wide range of services, including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, and hearing aid repairs.
Not only can a hearing aid help you better navigate phone calls, but we also offer a variety of assistive listening devices. These devices can be used to amplify sound and make it easier to understand conversations over the phone.
At Francis Audiology, we care about your hearing health, and we're here to help you in any way that we can. Schedule an appointment with us today to see how we can help!