There are many things in life that we take for granted. But when we lose it, we know their real worth.
Our sensory organs may be normal for us, but for millions of people, they are not. Loss of hearing is one of them. Can you imagine an endless silence all through your life or the struggle to understand muffled, incoherent sounds from all around?
You won’t want any superpower like flying or laser from the eyes; you’d want the superpower of hearing again.
So, if you know someone with a hearing disability or have a friend or family member suffering from it, give them some love, and show some kindness. It’s the least we all can do.
They may struggle to keep up, avoid crowded and challenging social circumstances, or may not hear you properly even after wearing a hearing aid. In those times, be patient and support them.
Here are 5 things that would make their life much easier:
- Means of communication
If you’re trying to converse with someone with a hearing disability, practice some modified speaking techniques and other means of communication.
First, get their attention. Second, they’d need to see your face and lips more often than not to understand what you’re saying. It’s called lip reading, and it’s a great weapon of theirs.
Avoid speaking to them from another room. Always make sure that they can clearly see your mouth while talking. Don’t cover your mouth while talking to them, and it’s best not to talk while eating something.
Speak clearly but don’t talk too fast. They’ll miss your moving lips if the speed is too high. So instead, talk at a moderate speed, and don’t shout at them. Sometimes, shouting can damage their hearing and worsen their condition.
If they’re in a group, try to talk one at a time. A heads up for topic change would be a nice touch as well.
- Technological help
The most common and usual technology for treating people with hearing loss is the hearing aid. But hearing aids may fall short in some situations, such as crowded restaurants, parties, or movie theaters.
New products keep coming out as the latest technologies are being developed. So something like a ‘Hearing Impaired Phone’ can help them massively, especially if they’re elderly.
Keep up to date with new technologies, search on Google and Amazon a bit, and always encourage them to experiment with new devices. Help them in their quest so that it will be a fun activity for both of you.
- Optimal environment
The surrounding impacts the ability to hear of those who have hearing issues. The first thing in this regard is the noise.
Keep the background noises as low as possible, and make sure the area is well-lit. These help them focus on your mouth and read your lips better.
If you’re meeting with them or going out, let them choose the place as they’ll know better ones that are more in tune with their kind of communication.
When ordering a table, ask them where they’d prefer to sit. In front of a wall is a good place in any given situation, as it cuts down noises coming from behind them.
- Be the support system.
Rather than feeling sorry for the person in your family or your friend with a hearing disability, support them. If there’s something you can do to help, do it for them. They’ll appreciate it to no end.
Even hearing aids can’t do magic. Their hearing power doesn’t get back to normal levels even after wearing them. So, you may have to repeat yourself sometimes, but that shouldn’t bother you so much that you start avoiding talking with them. That’ll hurt them and their self-confidence.
Their minds work on overdrive to make up for the missed words or the contexts, so conversations take a lot out of them. After a long period, they may feel overwhelmed by a phenomenon called ‘hearing loss exhaustion.’
Advise a break from listening if it happens.
- Don’t neglect
This repetition, planning, and caution before something as normal as talking may bug you or frustrate you.
But don’t neglect them for their deficiency. They had no say in it.
When you don’t answer them or avoid repeating yourself, it makes them feel inferior or unworthy of talking to you. It may feel like an insult to them, and that’ll cause them to isolate and coil up inside.
Try to repeat your words slower, rearrange them, or may even go to a quieter place if possible. You can tell them to see their messages and then say them through text.
If you have someone with a hearing disability in your friend circle or family, show them the love they deserve.
Collaborate with them on their journey. Help them to be themselves, and don’t change anything between you.
Maybe they can’t hear, but they can see, right?
So, let them see that you’re ready to go that extra mile for them. So, do that, and they’ll return the favor.