The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has named May Better Hearing and Speech Month. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and life altering treatments. This year’s theme is Communication Across the Lifespan. To help promote awareness, we’re looking at the 3 main ways that sensorineural hearing loss can make communication difficult.
This is what causes a sufferer to turn up the volume on the television or radio etc. It’s a progressive loss of the softer sounds, such as a softly spoken voice. It may initially be a close friend or family member who first notices the issue when highlighting how loud the volume is set.
High frequency loss
This makes understanding conversation very challenging. It’s more specific, with certain letter sounds within speech getting missed due to being at a higher frequency. These are typically the consonants s, t, f, p, k and the combinations of ‘th’ and ‘sh’. Female or children’s voices can also be more challenging.
Discrimination of sounds
Communicating in noisy environments can be difficult with a sensorineural hearing loss. It becomes very difficult to filter out background noise in order to distinguish conversation sounds separately. As such, it can be relatively easy to converse within quiet settings and therefore easy to dismiss a potential hearing loss just because you find noisy settings challenging.
The above issues may all occur at the same time with varying severity. Here are some simple communication tips to help you.
- Face the person you are talking with and make eye contact. Non verbal cues and gestures are extremely helpful when interpreting speech.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting, this will enable you to lipread more easily.
- Try to limit background noise and the size of the group you are communicating with.
- In public venues look for ‘T’ coil technology etc. Consider a transcribing app or amplification products.
- Set your hearing aid to suit the environment.
- Be patient and open about any difficulties you have, repeat back what you heard and ask the other person to rephrase or write down what you missed.
Regular hearing assessments can highlight any changes to your baseline hearing. Seeking appropriate treatment can boost your confidence and communication abilities. At Smithtown Sayville Hearing Services, we find solutions tailored to your individual needs. Call us today to discuss any difficulties you have been experiencing (631) 993-4719 or book a consultation here.