Communication

All the sounds of the earth are like music.

Oscar Hammerstein II

Communication

You will benefit the most from your hearing instruments if you follow a training program.  Each step will bring you closer to the goal of hearing well again.  Through better hearing you will experience renewed confidence and an improved quality of life.

Getting use to your hearing instruments

  • Step 1: Adapt the volume to the situation:

    • Modern hearing instruments automatically select an optimal volume level when they are switched on.  Many modern instruments do not need further adjustments.
    • Don’t try to understand soft voices over a great distance.  Even people with good hearing cannot do that.
    • If you have a volume control, don’t set it too high or the sound will be distorted.
  • Step 2: The hearing instrument

    • An extension of your body ideally, your hearing instruments should become a natural extension of your body, just like glasses or contact lenses.  This will happen naturally as you get used to your new hearing instruments and wear them regularly.  Should you experience any discomfort in using your hearing instruments, please consult with one of our offices.

Give yourself time to discover

Wearing hearing instruments and hearing a greater range of sounds may tire you at first.

  • Make a commitment to get used to hearing instruments
  • Your positive attitude and desire to hear better and crucial factors in your success
  • If you get tired, take a break–but be sure you try again very soon.

Learn to be an effective listener

With your hearing instruments it will be easier to hear well and communicate effectively in both quiet and noisy situations, but it is still imperative that you are an effective listener.  Even people with perfect hearing have to concentrate on what they want to hear and ignore or suppress other sounds.

  • Practice concentrating on the sounds and voices you want to hear, ignoring those that are less important or distracting.
  • Identify sounds you don’t recognize when you first start wearing your hearing instruments,then make a conscious decision to ignore the ones that are unimportant.
  • When there are a number of different sounds around you, practice shifting your attention from one to another.

Adjust to your own voice

At first, your own voice is likely to sound different.  Over time you will adjust to it.

  • Step 3: Living with noise

    • The world is a noisy place.  Often, people with perfect hearing can suppress interfering noises by concentrating on the sounds they wish to hear.  Your hearing instruments will reintroduce you to many sounds you may have forgotten, such as the ticking of the clock, paper being crumpled, the children laughing.  You can learn again how to ignore unwanted sounds by practicing and concentrating on what you want to hear and ignoring the rest.

Learn how to deal with difficult hearing situations

  • Step 4: Taking part in discussions

    Even people with good hearing have challenges in understanding speech if several people speak at once.

    • Move closer to the person you want to hear and concentrate on him/her
    • With practice you will achieve optimal results in this type of situation
  • Step 5: Visiting public places

    Theaters, places of worship, conference rooms and other public places present a challenge for the hearing instrument user.

    • Sit where acoustic conditions are the best-look closely at your environment to choose wisely and be sure you can see the speaker.
    • Many public building have assistive devices to help those with hearing loss–call ahead and clarify what is available with one of our locations.
  • Step 6: Listening to radio and television

    • Concentrate on trying to follow the overall meaning rather than each individual word.
    • If you need more help, there are additional systems that may be right for you.  Please call one of our locations to find out what would suit your needs.
  • Step 7: Using the telephone

    There are a number of ways to improve understanding while using a telephone. Please contact one of our professionals to help you find the solution best suited to your needs.

  • Step 8: Two ears are better than one

    The use of two hearing instruments for people with hearing loss in both ears has many advantages. Anew dimension in hearing is possible–after all, it is not by chance that nature gave us two ears.

  • The benefits of hearing with both ears:

    • Improved ability to hear and understand in noisy environments.
    • Richer, smoother sound quality and easier, more relaxed listening.
    • More natural hearing is possible because our sense of hearing is designed to receive sound input from both ears.
    • Improved ability to determine the direction of sound.

Practical advice for communicating with hearing instrument users

  • Speak clearly and naturally

    • It is not necessary to shout–this will cause sound distortion and discomfort to the wearer.
    • Maintain a normal tone of voice, speak clearly and more slowly.
  • Move closer

    • Reduce the distance between you and the listener, especially in background noise
  • Face the listener

    • Position yourself so that the listener can see your face and lips–visual cues are vital to understanding with hearing instruments.
  • Attract the listener’s attention

    • This can be accomplished by calling their name, making sure they see you or tapping them lightly on the shoulder.
  • Taking the surrounding into account

    • Don’t try to converse from one room to another or in rooms with distracting noises, e.g. washing machine, vacuum cleaner, loud music, etc.–this is likely the lead to mutual frustration.
  • Understanding that using hearing instruments can be tiring

    • When talking with a new hearing instrument user be aware of signs of fatigue.  Don’t force or prolong conversations if the listener is tired.
  • Be Patient

    • Respect the pace of recovery and encourage the person with hearing loss when progress is made. Be a good listener and help the person to achieve the goal participating in life again through better hearing.
  • Restored communication means a significantly improved quality of life

    • Research shows that a person with hearing loss waits, an average, 7-9 years before consulting a professional. Hearing loss typically progresses gradually and the sooner hearing help is sought, the sooner improved quality of life and communication is possible.
    • Hearing instruments are becoming more accepted worldwide. Politicians, business people and actors wear hearing instruments. A hearing instrument is a masterpiece of technology that helps overcome communication barriers due to hearing loss.
    • For every instrument user, the role of family, friends and colleagues is crucial, especially in the initial period of adjustment. The new hearing instrument user needs your support and encouragement.