Hearing experts in the South West are issuing important advice over how to support relatives and friends with hearing loss who are impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.
People living with hearing loss can feel isolated under normal circumstances – a third would rather avoid conversation than admit they have the condition – but this could be getting worse for many as lockdown takes its toll. Specsavers are offering the following advice, so you can help those with hearing loss still feel connected:
Speak slowly and clearly
The best way to have a successful conversation is by speaking slowly and clearly but in a natural manner. It is also important to avoid shouting as this can distort the sound of speech making it more difficult to understand. It is also a good idea to pause a little longer between sentences or phrases, making sure you have been understood before continuing.
Try using videocalls
Many people with hearing loss find it easier to join in with conversation when they can also lip-read as it helps them fill in any missing blanks. For this reason, video calls are a great way to stay in touch especially as seeing a friendly face can also make you feel less alone and is much more intimate than a phone call.
Be aware of your environment
It can be difficult to understand conversation in loud and busy environments. Just because you may be at home does not mean that it will be easier to have a phone call with someone with hearing difficulties. Be mindful of whether you are standing next to noisy washing machine, if there is music or a television programme blaring in the background, or if others in your household are also talking and try to move to a quieter room if possible.
Patience is also key when having conversations. Those with hearing loss can often feel frustrated if they aren’t able to follow or miss parts of sentences, so it is important to keep this in mind if they are asking you to repeat yourself.
Connect hearing aids to other devices wich can support you around the house
Many hearing aids now have the technological capabilities to connect to smartphones, TVs and other devices, acting like wireless headphones for clear and easy streaming of sound. Using this technology, wearers can make hands-free calls and will find it easier to listen to and watch their favourite television programmes, which can certainly help when they are unable to leave the house.
Other cutting-edge hearing accessories include TV streamers, which can help you enjoy clear sound from the TV or other audio devices while still being able to take part in conversation with those around you; remote controls, which can adjust volumes of hearing devices for those without a smartphone; and wireless microphones, which can be positioned around the home to help you hear more of everything.
You can find a wealth of information, expert advice, and a free online hearing test, on our website www.specsavers.co.uk/hearing
Alternatively, give your local Specsavers store a call to speak to an audiologist about any hearing problems or concerns.
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