What’s the difference between listening and hearing? Well imagine your partner asking you to do the dishes while you are watching T.V. You may have heard the request, but you really weren’t paying attention. That’s the big difference; hearing is knowing there are sounds and listening is understanding and acting on them. When it comes to hearing loss though, listening to those you love can be even more difficult, because your ears are having trouble picking up the sounds you need to hear. So what can be done? Well our friends over at Healthy Hearing have found a great list to help make sure when you are communicating with someone who has hearing loss, listening can be at its most optimal.
- Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. That means turning off the television or putting away your smartphone. Giving undivided attention is a sign of respect.
- Be attentive, but relaxed. While Schilling says there’s no need to “stare fixedly at the other person,” she says it’s best to be present and pay attention.
- Keep an open mind. Try not to judge or jump to conclusions.
- Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying. Instead of planning what you’re going to say next, create a mental picture of what the speaker is trying to convey.
- Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions.” Wait until you are asked before offering any suggestions.
- Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.
- Ask questions only to ensure understanding. If you ask questions, make sure they pertain to the subject matter and don’t lead the conversation in a different direction.
- Try to feel what the speaker is feeling. Demonstrate empathy by mentally putting yourself in the other person’s place while they speak. Convey what you are feeling with facial expressions and verbal feedback.
- Give the speaker regular feedback. Show you understand by nodding or providing appropriate verbal understanding.
- Pay attention to what isn’t being said. Nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body posture, can give us additional information about how the speaker is feeling.
When communicating with friends and family, listening is the most important thing you can do. Hopefully by practicing these steps, you can make sure that despite hearing loss, your communication will be enjoyable and rewarding.
CaptionCall is an ambassador for hearing health and an advocate for people with hearing loss. CaptionCall encourages people everywhere to actively manage their hearing health through regular hearing evaluations, and to seek early treatment when hearing loss is identified. CaptionCall is committed to helping people with hearing loss stay socially engaged for a longer, happier, healthier life.
Written By John Apgar, Marketing Coordinator