WHAT? HUH? The deer in the headlight look. The strange grin & nod? Or perhaps no answer or acknowledgment at all. UGH!! How many times do you have to repeat yourself? Well, that depends on how many times you say the same thing over & over. What do I mean?
Along with getting someone's attention before speaking, pausing to give them time to pay attention, and then speaking more slowly there are a few things you can do in your household to help with communication issues that may occur.
When a person gets a hearing loss, certain sounds become very difficult for the person to hear. Words that have double consonants are very soft and unfortunately, make up much of the meaning of the words. Letters like "S, T, P, H, W, TH, ST” can sound like other letters. During a hearing evaluation, there are speech tests given to measure discrimination and sound pressure requirements. In 42 years in this industry, if a person misses the word "drawbridge”, they ALWAYS answer "Strawberry". Interesting just exactly what letters or combinations of letters are perceived.
It usually takes 7 years after a person realizes they are having hearing difficulties before they seek help. Well, 7 years of not understanding and saying "HUH" can become a habit that must be broken! But there is hope! Lol!
We have to make the brain work. How? Play a game of course. First off, say you go to the kitchen to get something to drink and you say, "Do you want a glass of tea?" Now, you did NOT get their attention, so all they may have heard was 'tea" but it may not have sounded like tea... They are sitting and staring at you wondering why you are asking them if they have to "PEE". You get the 'deer in the headlight look. Again you ask, "Do you want a glass of tea?" This time faster because you are impatient and maybe sharper. That doesn't help. They are still only hearing certain sounds. So this time they got "ant pee". NOW you are both frustrated. It is well documented that even people with normal hearing have a difficult time repeating sentences verbatim. So, try this game. It can provide some good laughs and help both of you learn good communication skills. The person with the hearing loss also has to play an "active" role in hearing. They have to take the words they hear and use 'cues' in their surroundings to make sense of the sentence.
When you say something and it is not understood... ask them, "what words did you hear". You will be told, that I heard "pee". (Or ant pee). At that point repeat exactly what you said. (If you are standing in the kitchen with the pitcher of tea, now that you have their attention they will understand). If you get the wrong response again then change your words around. Perhaps try "would you like something to drink". Or, "I am thirsty, do you need something to drink?" They know you drink tea and will respond, "I would like some tea". People with normal hearing may miss a word or two but because we hear a little more of the sentence we can figure out what the subject is. This same situation is very frustrating for someone with a hearing loss. The worse the degree of hearing loss, the fewer letters they have to work with. Communication is a two-way street. The person speaking must be attentive to the needs of the listener and the listener must use all their senses to provide the best possible understanding.
While testing a patient the other day who has been wearing our hearing instruments for several years… he said, “ you know… if I pay attention and focus I can hear better!!” For sure; in everything that we do in life, we do better and get the best results if we focus on what we are doing. Be an active participant in your better-hearing journey! We will be glad to help you and your loved ones. Give us a call to start your journey to better hearing. To Hear Better Is To Hear Better!!