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Monday, November 3, 2014

If you are currently living with hearing loss, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that over 36 million Americans have reported some level of hearing difficulty. But while hearing loss can sometimes make interacting with others difficult, there are steps you can take to help make ease it easier. Here are five tips to help you effectively communicate in social situations.

Let the person know that you are hearing impaired

Although you might feel somewhat uncomfortable telling someone you just met that you are hearing impaired, it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, open communication with others can happen much more smoothly if you let them know up front that you have hearing loss. This will help you both communicate easier, as the person you are speaking with will have a better understanding of your situation and will give you a better opportunity to let them know if they need to repeat something.

Maintain eye contact

One of the best ways to know that you have someone's attention is if you both are maintaining eye contact. Try to avoid speaking while you're in a different room or with your back turned to the individual. Wait until you both can look directly at one another and then use your body language to help convey what you're trying to say. Believe it or not, your body language can be just as important as the words you speak.

Stay aware of your environment

When you know that you have difficulty hearing, it's a good idea that you try and hold a conversation in an area that has as little noise as possible. So if you're having a business meeting or lunch with friends and you see that there's a crowd, request to go to a quieter space. And if you are planning to attend a religious event or concert, try and get there early so that you can get a front row seat.

Keep your hearing aid on

Hearing aids are one of the best ways to help you effectively communicate with the world around you. Not only will they help make you more aware of your surroundings, they will also make it easier to hold conversations. So if you happen to have a Miracle-Ear hearing device, it's important that you wear it -- especially during waking hours.

Be patient

When you're talking to someone, it's important that you make sure to keep track of your conversation at all times. If you happen to feel like you missed a few words or even a sentence, rather than responding with "What?" or "Huh?", instead say to the individual that you didn't hear all of what they said. Then repeat the last line that you did hear so that they'll know exactly what you need repeated. Remember, whether you have hearing loss or not, it's a good idea to be patient while you're talking and while you're listening. This is the key to truly effective communication.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


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