Whether you’ve worn hearing aids for years or just got your first pair, telling new people you have a hearing loss and wear hearing aids can be intimidating. But to communicate with others and truly engage with the world around you, it’s important to let others know what you need!
As a 30-something with hearing loss, the new people I meet don’t expect it when I share that I wear hearing aids. The behind-the-ear Oticon Own™ hearing aids I wear are invisible to those who don’t know what to look for, so I find myself explaining my hearing loss frequently! Here are my tips for talking about your hearing with others:
Share your hearing loss right away
I found out that a few years ago, one of my colleagues thought she had offended me at a work conference because I didn’t respond to her greeting – it turns out she was behind me talking and I just didn’t hear her! Another coworker told her that I wasn’t offended, but that I had hearing loss, and she felt much better. It was a good reminder for me that bringing up my limitations is important.
These days, I let colleagues and new friends know right away that I wear hearing aids, and I’m sure to tell them that it isn’t a secret – that they are free to let others know as well.
When you tell others about your hearing, give them tips for communicating with you
Most people don’t know the basics of communicating with someone who has hearing loss! When you let them know you wear hearing aids, it’s a great opportunity to give them a few pointers for better communication. Plus, this empowers them to keep communicating with you instead of being nervous. Here are some tips I give people:
- I need you to get my attention before you start talking to me, especially when I’m at my desk or in a crowd.
- I may ask you to repeat things if I have a hard time understanding – please be patient with me or try rewording what you’re saying.
- Sometimes I use a speech-to-text app on my phone or a special microphone that streams to my hearing aids to help me make sure I understand important meetings. I may ask you to speak into one of these devices from time to time.
- In loud places, I may rely on reading lips, so please don’t be alarmed if I seem to be staring at your face or request to sit in a certain spot.
Giving others solid tips for what you need helps them feel empowered to communicate with and include you.
Realize that not everyone will remember that you have hearing loss! So periodically reminding them is something you should be ready for too.
Brag about your hearing aids
Today’s hearing aids are modern, sleek and technologically advanced – and many people don’t know it! I love to brag about streaming music and calls directly to my ears. In the years since I’ve been wearing hearing aids, I’ve convinced several friends and family members to get their hearing checked simply by talking about how amazing today’s technology is.
HearingLife is here to help
Schedule a complimentary hearing assessment today at your local HearingLife location – whether you are a longtime hearing aid wearer or first-time purchaser, the professionals here are ready to help you hear your best.