Helping People Understand Your Hearing Loss

Your family and friends are affected by your hearing loss which is why it’s important that they understand how your hearing loss affects you and how they can best support you on this journey.

Family and friends are important to us, a big part of our social and emotional support network. They walk alongside us in every season of life, and navigating hearing loss is no exception. The people around you are affected by your hearing loss. When you help people understand your hearing loss you help them to give you the support you need. 

Your family and friends most likely also find it difficult to know how to communicate with you, especially in noisy environments. Unfortunately, if you don’t find a way to communicate with each other you’ll probably engage in fewer conversations, share fewer jokes, and ultimately start to feel isolated and alone. Both parties will experience irritation, stress, and anxiety in this environment and that can be devastating to everyone.1 

7 Strategies To Help Your Loved Ones Support You With Hearing Loss:

  1. Ask your loved ones to read up on hearing loss and how it works – they can get some reading material on this from the Lexie Hearing Library.  
  2. Involve your loved ones from the beginning of your treatment process – from purchasing your hearing aids to setting them up and adjusting them at a later stage. The more your loved ones know and understand about your hearing aid, the better equipped they are to help you if needs be. 
  3. Ask them to speak slower, not louder when they talk to you – speaking louder doesn’t make speech clearer, but speaking slower does. 
  4. Ask them to look at you when they talk to you – being able to see the speaker’s face in a well-lit area makes it easier to pair lip reading (which we all naturally do) with your improved hearing. 
  5. Tell your loved ones which kinds of listening situations are difficult for you – for example, sitting in a restaurant, at church or when the radio is on while speaking to someone.  If they understand this, they can help improve or prevent these situations for better communication. 
  6. If you’re walking while speaking to each other, ask them to stand on the side of your better hearing ear – you can see which ear is your better one from your Lexie Hearing Check results in your Lexie App. 
  7. Speak to your loved ones about how your hearing loss and difficulty communicating make you feel – share the experience with them so that they can better support you emotionally. 

Navigating hearing loss will take time and it will take time for your loved ones to adjust as well. Be patient with yourselves and with each other.

10 Steps to Effective Communication

This infographic will help you remember 10 steps to effective communication. Share it, print it, use it. It’s a wonderful resource to help you and your loved ones move forward together. 

Infographic to show steps of effective communication

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1 Scarinci, N., Worrall, L., & Hickson, L. (2009). The effect of hearing impairment in older people on the spouse: Development and psychometric testing of The Significant Other Scale for Hearing Disability (SOS-HEAR). International Journal of Audiology, 48, 671-83.

Written byRenate Olinger

Masters in Audiology

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