Christmas with hearing impaired family and friends

Posted: 7th November 2016

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By: Sally Joyner

Anyone who has a hearing impairment knows how difficult situations are when you cannot hear clearly and how awkward it can be when there is a lot of background noise.

Whilst family members are people who love you and want to help you, sometimes they can make life very lonely, especially in a crowded room.  They don’t do it intentionally but you know that you constantly have to remind them what you need.

Why is it lonely in a crowded room you ask?  Well at Christmas time or any other family gathering this is what we do.  We put our person with hearing loss in a corner usually under the television or next to the radio or the cd player.  This in itself is the most annoying of situations.  For those of us who are not hearing impaired its like listening to a radio which isn’t tuned in properly or a jumpy dvd or cd.  You can’t hear all that’s going on clearly so its not worth listening at all, it creates frustration.    Then all our friends and relatives are put on an imaginary rota to come and talk to you, which is lovely but there is so much going on around us that you can’t hear them talking, its a bit like listening to Norman Collier doing his faulty microphone routine.  Consequently people fall asleep, get fed up or start refusing your kind offers of spending Christmas or other get togethers.  We then feel really guilty because our relative or friend is spending Christmas at home alone.  Being hearing impaired is tiring, it’s tiring because the hearing impaired person has to concentrate very hard to pick up what is being said, they sometimes only pick up certain words and then they have to do a jigsaw to try and fill in the gaps which speech has created either because the speaker isn’t speaking clearly enough or because there is too much background noise.  Its often useful to speak a little slower, not so slow that you look very silly but just a little slower.  It can also help if you attract the persons attention before you start speaking, this helps because the person knows you are talking to them and they can start from the start.  Realizing that someone is speaking to you is very embarrassing when you only realize half way through the sentence, especially when its a question.  It makes you feel like an idiot and like you are being rude, and people will accuse you of being rude.  Your not its because you haven’t heard them.  It can also lead to embarrassment when someone asks you if you would like a drink and you reply something off subject.

So avoid lots of mishaps this festive season, here’s a few tips for coping better for the person with the hearing problem and the family members.

 

  1. Attract the persons attention before you start to speak
  2. Make sure they are looking at you and that you look at them before you start to speak.
  3. Speak a little slower and as clear as you can.
  4. Don’t shout, volume often distorts what you want to hear.
  5. Be patient, and if someone asks for a repeat, please repeat it.  If they still don’t understand after a couple of repeats say it again in a different way, it may be you used difficult to understand language.
  6. Try to limit the background noise (turn off the music or the television).
  7. NEVER SAY “IT DOESN’T MATTER” OR “I’LL TELL YOU LATER”

 

Happy festive season everyone