How to Enjoy Conversations Again

Vacationing with Hearing Aids
September 7, 2016
Eating for Healthy Hearing
January 13, 2017

It is that time of the year when everything around us is bright and happy. Colorful decorations, our favorite delicacies, and relaxing with our favorite people are the hallmarks of the holiday season. However, wouldn’t you enjoy more if these conversations were smooth, without all of your energy being spent in comprehending what is being said?

For those of you who have difficulty in hearing, this may become an overwhelming situation. Too many people in the conversation or people speaking simultaneously often makes it so difficult to enjoy the conversation that you might find it easier to give up than to try staying in it. Before you let these challenges get the better of you, you could use these handy tips to engage in discussions in a better way.

Setting The Stage

If you are the host, you can try to create a setting that promotes better hearing. Simple hacks like adjusting the seating arrangements, avoiding too much brightness that might not allow you to see the person’s face while speaking, and reducing background noises will aid in enhancing your hearing ability. If you are a guest, you can request your family and friends to make similar arrangements to help you be an active part of the conversations. It is always beneficial to sit in a position that helps you watch people as they speak.

Do Your Bit

Although confusions while trying to listen can lead to frustration and disappointment, you will be amazed to know how beneficial it can be to adopt a few small adjustments to enhance your overall hearing capacity. To hear efficiently, you should make an effort to focus on little subtleties like a person’s lip movement, their expressions, and hand gestures etc. Look for any external cues when in a group. Another thing that you can try is to avoid asking “what?” If you missed something that was said, repeating what you believed you heard is a better alternative that not only ensures uninterrupted conversation, but it also makes the speaker appreciate your endeavor to be an active listener. You can maximize the use of your body language through hand gestures and facial expressions to convey your understanding of what’s being said by the speaker.

Still Need Help? Let Others Know

Just as a person with a visual impairment needs to speak up if he or she cannot see pertinent information, you also need to let people know about your difficulty in hearing perfectly, more so because hearing disability is less apparent to people. Once you shed your inhibition and open up, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the willingness of our loved ones to adjust and accommodate little changes, only to help us hear better!

Speaking audibly at an appropriate pace, refraining from chewing or eating while speaking, avoiding covering of their mouth (like when smoking), and making eye contact while speaking are some simple adjustments that you could suggest to people who are conversing with you. Further, when in a group discussion, ask people to address you by your name before they start talking to you. Similarly, when the discussion jumps from one topic to another, you can request people to announce such changes by saying “new subject”, “new topic” etc. to grab your attention. Ask the speakers to avoid overstressing or shouting and involve more facial expressions and hand gestures to communicate the emotional undertone of the conversation. Most importantly, share how it feels like to be in your situation to help them understand and empathize with your predicament.

Relax!

The holiday get-togethers are supposed to help you to relax and rejuvenate, and we must try not to let it become taxing and stressful. It is perfectly okay to take rest if you’re feeling tired or unwell. It takes a lot of energy and attention to be actively involved in a discussion and it is only natural to be overwhelmed. So, if you are unable to concentrate, allow yourself some time out.

Loss of hearing can be a difficult thing to deal with, but these tips will come in handy to make the most of such situations. You need to be realistic and understand that implementing these when you converse can take some time. So, it is really important that you are patient and give yourself and others time to adapt to these adjustments. Moreover, it is best to keep up the holiday mood and be thankful to the people who go that extra mile to ensure that you enjoy your conversations.

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