Hearing impairment is one of the alarming conditions in today’s century. It snatches away a person’s ability to hear. Therefore, the person faces tremendous challenges to take part in social situations actively. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 422 million people worldwide face hearing difficulties. What’s more, the number is only increasing day by day. The problem gets worse with the increase in age. Therefore the retired citizens who are already pretty detached from social activities face the bulk of the problem. This article will discuss various challenges a deaf or hard of hearing person faces and how to communicate with them effectively.
Challenges a Hearing-Impaired Person Faces
In our daily life, we highly depend on sounds to perform the simplest of tasks. Our whole defense system highly depends upon hearing. The first and foremost problem that occurs with hearing impairment is not being able to communicate with others. A person with hearing difficulties will often ask others to repeat themselves. It would irritate others around him and build frustration inside the person. Soon, the person with hearing problems would get so irritated with others that he would withdraw himself from other people’s company. It will soon lead them to anxiety, depression and cause severe mental health problems. They would increase the volume of television and radio to an intolerable level that others will also avoid their company. It would highly affect their personal and work life.
Toddlers with hearing impairments will face difficulties in developing speech and language recognition. They would often throw tantrums. People with hearing difficulties are offered fewer job opportunities due to communication difficulties. They will often withdraw themselves from various social occasions. This will highly impact their self-esteem and confidence. In a nutshell, the sufferings of a hearing-impaired person know no bounds, and they will face them in every step of life.
With hearing loss, other health conditions can also get surfaced. Tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo are some examples. Without reaching out and getting a proper health evaluation, these conditions can only get worse with time. It would slowly lead the person to accept his dark fate, and the person would start his journey towards oblivion.
Hearing loss is often an irreversible condition. However, devices like hearing aids and cochlear implants can significantly help a person with hearing loss. Additionally, the hearing impaired person can learn sign language and lip-reading to receive additional benefits. With a combination of using a device, lip-reading, and sign language, a person can effectively rise to his problems and lead his usual lifestyle.
Conversing With Hearing-Impaired Persons
Successful communication requires the active participation of each of the participants. As the hearing impaired person picks up certain techniques to take part in the conversations, other participants should also maintain some basics to help the person. Some of those techniques are mentioned below:
- Face the person with hearing loss directly. If it’s possible, stand on the same level under well-lit conditions. It will help the hearing impaired person identify what you are saying effectively.
- Do not talk from the other room. It will cause unnecessary trouble for the hearing impaired person.
- Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly without shouting or exaggerated mouth movements. It will be pretty helpful to understand you.
- At the beginning of the conversation, mention the person’s name. It will help him focus his attention on you and get every word.
- Don’t talk too rapidly. Use simple sentences and pause between sentences. Make sure the person understands you clearly before adding more.
- Keep your hands far from your mouth. It will reduce the intensity of your word.
- Most people with hearing loss may have difficulty hearing when there is background noise. Therefore, talk with them in calm places if possible.
- If the person with hearing difficulty cannot understand a word, try using another similar word. It will clarify any confusion.
- Avoid sudden change of topic. Clarify what you are going to talk about before starting another conversation.
- If you are giving information like time, place, or numbers, ask them to repeat after you. It will clarify if they have the correct information.
- If possible, provide them with written documents.
- Almost everyone can have a hard time hearing when they are tired or ill. So repeat yourself if possible.
- Pay attention to the listener. If any listener has difficulties understanding, they may have a puzzled look on their face. You can ask questions to know if your message has reached everyone.
- Enrolling in aural rehabilitation classes with your hearing-impaired friend can be very helpful.
The life of a hearing-impaired person is already pretty difficult. A little bit of help from our side can go a long way in regaining his self-confidence and falling from mental health diseases. With kindness, the worlds get better, and society reaches its peak development.