Each year, May is celebrated as Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM). This year’s theme is Communication Across the Lifespan, so we’re taking the opportunity to look at how hearing can impact communication. With that in mind, we explore how hearing loss affects communication.
More Than Words
We communicate using more than just words. Body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact and tone of voice are all important in helping us understand one another. With a hearing loss, understanding the tone of voice or hearing what the other person is saying can be difficult.
If you have a hearing loss, or have a loved one with a hearing loss, there are some tips that can help facilitate communication. These are specifically for face to face conversations.
- Be sure that you can see the other person’s face, hands and mouth.
- Think about location; look for good lighting, sound absorbing soft furnishings and limit background noise.
- Consider amplification products and adjust the settings on your hearing aid.
- Try to limit the group size and be open about your hearing difficulties.
- Have regular hearing checks.
How Does Hearing Loss Affect Communication?
Untreated hearing loss can make communication more challenging in the following ways:
- You may feel like people are speaking quietly or mumbling, you often need to ask them to speak up. This is because your sound sensitivity has reduced.
- You may have a problem with hearing higher frequencies, causing you to miss parts of words, for example the sounds ‘th’ and ‘sh’ or the letters s, t, f, p ,k. To compensate you may find yourself guessing what has been said. You may even find certain people’s voices are easier to hear than others – usually lower/deeper voices.
- You may find background noise too much to tolerate. Everything just blurs into a wall of sound and you cannot pick out speech clearly (poor sound discrimination). Here, you tend to prefer to talk with one person at a time and you become very selective about where you will venture.
If you suspect that you are suffering with any of the above, take our hearing loss questionnaire to determine if you need to book in a hearing assessment..
The above symptoms can lead to a person gradually withdrawing from social interaction. This can have a detrimental impact on wellbeing and could lead to depression. Communication issues can also increase stress, anxiety and frustration; negatively impacting general health. Read more about 5 surprising ways hearing loss can hurt you.
Treating a hearing loss can have a significant impact on the quality of your life. If it’s been over a year since your last hearing assessment, we recommend booking in one today. Call the hearing care professionals at Anderson Audiology on 702-997-2964, or click here to request an appointment online. At Anderson Audiology, you will experience patient care tailored to your specific needs that can prevent you missing any of the precious moments in your life.