Hearing loss affects 10 million people in this country. That’s nearly 14% of the population.
As well as those born with congenital hearing lost, there are those who develop hearing loss during their life time.
Think about it. It’s commonplace for people to have someone in their family who struggles to understand what you are saying. When you call them from another room, you might not get a response. Most people as they get older tend to struggle to make sense of conversations in a bar or at a party. This is natural, as your range of hearing decreases as part of the aging process.
Since we all know someone affected by some form of hearing loss, that must mean we are all deaf aware. We certainly should be, but it’s not always the case. Unfortunately, we tend to not show as much patience to our friends and family as we ought to in general, and this can especially cause frustrations if that person can’t always hear you.
Signs someone has hearing difficulties
To be more deaf aware to those around you, there are some things you might want to look out for:
- Hard of hearing people don’t always want to divulge any problems they are having understanding, so they won’t let on.
- They may ask you to repeat something more than one. This can be embarrassing for them.
- People who are hard of hearing tend to find noisy environments uncomfortable. They may follow a conversation reasonably well when there is no extraneous sound in the background, but busy places can prove particularly challenging.
- Hearing aids can cause pain and discomfort. Loud noises can be distorted and unpleasant for wearers.
- Hard of hearing people can feel isolated and excluded when they are only grasping some of the conversation. This leads to frustrations.
- Relationships can become strained if family members lose patience because of needing to repeat information.
Conversing with deaf people
Working with people who may be deaf or hard of hearing is something you should be prepared for. Here is what you can do today to make life a little easier for them.
- Include them in conversations so they are not isolated.
- Speak directly to them, making eye contact.
- Repeat information if necessary, as often as necessary.
- Choose a quieter location for conversations where possible.
- Don’t speak loudly – This can be confusing for lip readers and uncomfortable for people wearing hearing aids.
- If you need to relay instructions, consider writing down some notes – This is helpful for everyone, as instructions can be easily forgotten.
- Seat people away from loud speakers at social events to make communication a little easy and to protect people’s ears.
These are just some of the measures you can take to become more deaf aware. If you want to find out more, Signcode has an online Deaf Awareness Course that’s open to anyone wishing to communicate better with deaf people.